cover image Anytime, Anywhere: A Little Boy's Prayer

Anytime, Anywhere: A Little Boy's Prayer

Marcus Hummon, , illus. by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher. . S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-4856-8

A boy's bedtime routine turns into a thoughtful father-son exchange about prayer in this debut picture book by a Grammy-winning country songwriter. As his parents stand by, Isaac recites his nightly prayers and intersperses his very long list of “God bless...” requests with questions and observations (e.g., “Does Grandma Anne hear my prayers in heaven?”; “I'm pretty sure God wants to hear from everybody, and I bet God can speak just about any language.”). This type of tuck-in talk from a loquacious child will be familiar in many households; even so, Hummon's text is exhaustive. The words feel forced when Isaac wants to pray for every living thing, the homeless (his parents have taken him to visit a shelter), world peace and people in jail. Johnson and Fancher (What a Good Big Brother , reviewed Nov. 24) use soft-edged acrylic paintings and elements of collage to create cozy scenes in Isaac's bedroom and to depict some of his everyday experiences at school and in his neighborhood. Readers can follow a colorfully patterned patchwork motif of the quilt on Isaac's bed as a page border throughout the book. Ages 4–7. (Jan.)