The lyrics of late pop singer/songwriter Denver live on in this hokey picture-book interpretation of one of his biggest hits, the first of a planned series inspired by his songs. In a biographical note on the final pages, readers learn that Denver wrote "Sunshine" during the Vietnam War as an antidote to the troubles of that time. Striving to reflect that lightness, Canyon (The Tree in the Ancient Forest) offers summery, greeting-card watercolors of a girl, along with her guitar-strumming father and often-anthropomorphic cat, enjoying fairly stereotypical outdoor pleasures. For example, he pictures the girl blissfully posed on a swing in mid-air, a huge (and oddly low) sun in the background ("Sunshine almost always makes me high"); meanwhile, on a tree branch above, a bird feeds her young in their nest. Unfortunately, the characters look more saccharine than sweet, given their sunburst eyelashes and perma-grins. A printed score and a CD recording of Denver singing the title tune as well as "The Music Is You," is included. All ages. (Sept.)
FYI: A paperback edition, which does not include the CD, is set for simultaneous publication ($8.95 -050-X).