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Mary Quattlebaum (Children's Literature)
Douglas Wood celebrates the special relationship between grandparent and child in Grandad's Prayers of the Earth. While walking in the woods with his grandfather, a young boy asks about prayers. The older man tells him about trees reaching to heaven and stones sitting silent and streams praising with movement, but the boy isn't sure he can hear the voices of the natural world. When his grandfather dies, though, the boy finds solace in listening to the prayers his grandfather loved. P.J. Lynch's detailed watercolors convey the quiet beauty of the changing seasons. 1999, Candlewick, $16.99. Ages 6 up.
Judy Silverman (Children's Literature)
Grandad and his grandson, who narrates this lovely, moving book, have a wonderfully close relationship. When the grandson asks questions, Grandad answers them, even the hard ones. One day the child asks Grandad about prayers. And Grandad tells him that all things on earth pray--trees, rocks, streams, animals, birds--everything. Sometimes the streams "pray with laughter, chuckling to their friends the rocks...who "pray silently...The wind prays as it whispers and moans and sighs...It (seems as if it) is ...singing a hymn at the same time." People pray with words, Grandad says. They use prayers already written or their own words, he tells the boy, and "the words will always be right if they are real and true and come from the heart." And prayers don't always ask for something. These prayers are often their own answers. "...it is when we change ourselves... that the world is changed." This is a lot for the boy to absorb, and he doesn't really understand it until after Grandad's death. Listening to the eloquent silence of the woods, he can finally hear the trees praying, and as he joins in, "for the first time in a long time, the world seemed just right." This is a beautiful book that is truly religious without being an advocate of any one religion. I highly recommend this book. 1999, Candlewick, $16.99. Ages 6 up.
Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
The comfortable conversations between a boy and his grandfather become the springboard for exploring ideas about prayer in this poignant picture book. On their walks together in the woods, Grandad tells the boy that trees, rocks and streams pray, as sure as people do: "The tall grass prays as it waves its arms beneath the sky, and flowers pray as they breathe their sweetness into the air." The boy listens hard to hear the natural world's prayers, but never quite hears them. Later, as he grieves the death of his grandfather, the slightly older boy comes to understand Grandad's message--in a delicately handled epiphany, he seems to grasp that letting one's God-given beauty shine, and finding the beauty in others and in the world, is a prayer in itself. Readers may well draw other interpretations, but, in any case, will likely view the idea of prayer in a new light. Wood's (Old Turtle) reassuring tone and pleasing imagery serve as a framework for the powerful love between grandparent and child that lies at the heart of this story. These solid elements help make a difficult religious concept somewhat more concrete for children. As Wood's text (wisely) offers no definitive answer to the boy's queries about prayer, it could easily serve as a starting point for family discussions. And perhaps best of all, readers are treated to a peaceful nature walk in Lynch's (The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey) soft, careful scenes of man and boy enjoying rushing streams, quiet twilight skies and brilliant green leaves and grasses glistening in the sun. Ages 6-up. (Oct.)
|Language||Call Number||LCCN||Dewey Decimal||ISBN/ISSN|
|English (eng)||PZ7.W84738 Gr 1999
076360660X (hardcover : alk. paper)|