cover image Look and Be Grateful

Look and Be Grateful

Tomie dePaola. Holiday House, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-3443-5

Rather than go the route of many before him in this genre and provide a catalogue of all the things that readers should be thankful for, dePaola takes a different tack: he urges his audience to be fully present in and grateful for the world around them— a kind of Zen equivalent to “Just do it” (“Open your eyes,/ And look./ Open your eyes,/ And see./ And say thank you,/ For today is today”). The brief, emphatic message never feels hectoring; dePaola writes with just enough rhythm and repetition to give the book the homespun, incantatory feel of a lullaby. Dreamy, tableau-like visuals—distilled to the essence of thoughts and rendered in soft, nursery-room colors (peach and turquoise predominate)—reinforce the mood. At the center of this meditation is a serious, wide-eyed boy who wakes up, observes and encounters nature (one spread consists entirely of a child’s hand serving as a temporary resting spot for a ladybug), shares the bounty from a fruit tree with his younger sister, and then joins her in evening prayers. With its naive beauty and unaffected solemnity, it’s a little book that may quickly become a treasured keepsake. All ages. (Oct.)