cover image All Things Bright and Beautiful

All Things Bright and Beautiful

Cecil Frances Alexander. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-8939-4

Five-time Coretta Scott King Award–winner Bryan (Let It Shine ) interprets Cecil F. Alexander’s 19th-century hymn with cut-paper art defined by swirling geometrical shapes in neon hues, contributing to a pervasively jubilant atmosphere. Every spread is a riot of colors, movement, and natural splendors: a gray whale that recalls Haida artwork is the centerpiece of one of the “All creatures great and small,” scenes. In another, a rainbow presides over rushing waterfalls and rivers that flow from “purple-headed” mountains amid small villages. Bryan notes that he created the artwork using his late mother’s embroidery scissors, which are pictured on the endpapers, lending a personal dimension; a biographical sketch of Alexander and musical notation are also included. The hymn’s traditional roots are exquisitely juxtaposed against Bryan’s global and contemporary scope (skin tones that range from deep brown to taupe are all seen in the hands of a creator, which reach down from the heavens beneath the line, “All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all”). Bryan taps into the hymn’s celebratory nature to produce a triumphal vision of creation. Ages 2–5. (Jan.)