cover image In Every Tiny Grain of Sand: A Child's Book of Prayers and Praise

In Every Tiny Grain of Sand: A Child's Book of Prayers and Praise

. Candlewick Press (MA), $22.99 (77pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0176-8

In a foreword to this life-affirming anthology, Lindbergh (Circle of Days) explains that the 77 selections here, gathered from spiritual traditions the world over, ""were written in appreciation of nature, to to praise God, or to celebrate good things in our lives"" or ""when the writer needed strength, comfort or courage."" As this personal interpretation of ""prayers and praise"" would suggest, the entries transcend denomination. Hildegard of Bingen, Albert Schweitzer, Walt Whitman and Lao-Tzu speak; extracts from the Vedas, the Talmud and the Bible share space with Baha'i prayers, Native American poems, Buddhist blessings and Japanese haiku. The range is so broad that some may wish the sources had been amplified--attributions like ""Santal,"" ""Dinka"" and ""Kyorai"" will raise questions with most readers. The poems are grouped into four sections (Day, Home, Earth and Night), each illustrated by a different artist. It's an effective approach: the variety of illustrative styles underlines the diversity of the entries, and these four artists complement one another exceptionally well. Graham, assigned the Day section, offers fluid watercolor cartoons in a simple style that sets off his use of color; Davenier, given Earth, invigorates her watercolors with motion. In the Home section, Kleven's trademark collages are typically detailed yet harmonious, as inviting as her best work. Perhaps the biggest delight comes from Jeram, who renders Night in a style wholly unlike her Guess How Much I Love You. Her jewel-toned acrylics of animals in nocturnal landscapes have a depth and intensity that close the volume with rare drama. Ages 4-up. (Sept.)