cover image Make the Earth Your Companion

Make the Earth Your Companion

J. Patrick Lewis, illus. by Anna and Elena Balbusso. Creative Editions, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56846-269-1

In this Earth-centered prayer, Lewis (The Navajo Code Talkers) catalogues the ways the natural world can teach humans wisdom. “Make the Earth your companion. Walk lightly on it, as other creatures do,” he begins, as Art Deco–style animals parade peaceably before a backdrop of bare trees. “Learn from the sea how to face harsh forces,” Lewis continues. “Let the river remind you that everything will pass. Let the lake instruct you in stillness.” The Balbusso sisters convey the progression from power to stillness with quiet force: a Greek ship battles the rolling waves of the ocean, an adult and a child are carried along the river’s current in a canoe, and a personified moon gazes at its reflection in a glassy lake. Elsewhere, delicate combed lines give texture to a lion’s mane, trace the grain of wood, and follow the lines of bird flight. Ghostly, translucent silhouettes alternate with objects that possess volume and heft, from iris blossoms to rocky outcrops. Lewis’s invocations create a sense of reverence, and their secular vocabulary makes them useful in a variety of settings. Ages 6–8. (Mar.)