cover image This Is the Earth That God Mad

This Is the Earth That God Mad

Lynn Downey. Augsburg Fortress Publishers, $8.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8066-3960-4

In warm, flowing ""House That Jack Built""-style cumulative verse that rolls off the tongue, a child narrator describes the earth, his family's place in it and their prayerful responses. Beginning with an expansive view of mountains, sea and wind, Downey's (Sing, Henrietta! Sing!) focus gradually narrows to the particular place where the child's family communes with God. ""This is my mother, my sister, and me/ beside my father, down on his knees/ in the shade of the grand old willow tree/ that holds the hive of the honeybee..."" Huang's (One Hundred Is a Family) full-spread illustrations, filled with waves and curls and painted predominantly in royal shades of purple and green, present a utopian vision of the natural world. Gently rounded mountains and trees, playfully splashing ocean waves, a volcano that spews swirling doves--the benevolent, majestic images bespeak a creation that inspires awe and reverence, without fear. The narrator, his sister and parents, the only people represented, appear the image of family harmony. Although perhaps a little too sweet for some tastes, this book successfully conveys its message of gratitude, admiration and praise for the glory, bounty and benevolence of the Creator. Included at the end are suggestions for outdoor family activities and crafts. Ages 3-8. (Mar.)