cover image He's Got the Whole World in His Hands

He's Got the Whole World in His Hands

Kadir Nelson, . . Dial, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2850-9

The popular spiritual finds new life as a picture book celebrating diversity and community. An African-American boy is at the heart of the lyrics featured here experiencing the song's universal sentiments firsthand. The line "He's got my brothers and my sisters in His hands" is accompanied by the boy's crayon drawing of his multiethnic family; the same family is shown flying kites in an illustration of "He's got the wind and the clouds in His hands." The greatness of Earth, moon and sea are also seen with awe through the boy's eyes. Nelson's (Salt in His Shoes ) interpretation remains wide-reaching in its themes, yet still intimate via his protagonist's view. The warm, joyous result encourages readers to apply the song to their own lives and situations. The artist's mix of watercolor, oil and pencil creates often velvety-looking portraits and textured details in blades of grass or folds of clothing. A painting of the yellow-slickered boy in front of a wall of glistening green leaves, letting his face be splashed by raindrops is particularly engaging. Ages 4-up. (Sept.)