Bless Us All: A Child's Yearbook of Blessings
by Cynthia Rylant
Using her characteristic vibrant folk paintings and warm, lyrical verse, the author creates a book of blessings that accentuate things children can relate to, such as the love of family and pets, and the engaging world around them.
From January to December, blessings abound in this delightful yet simplistic collection of blessings. It is fitting that each illustration is framed with a variety of designs from a patchwork quilt. Each distinct pattern can be symbolic of the many blessings surrounding us all, each and every day of the year. Most of the blessings can be easy for the audience to imagine without referring to the coordinating illustration. Some of the blessings however, may not be as simple to imagine. For example, it can be easy for a child to mentally create flowers, houses, and shining stars. A child's interpretation of "babies rolling by..." however, may be quite different from the author's suggested meaning. All of the blessings are age-appropriate, however, some may question the definition of a "crocus." This book would be useful with infants and toddlers in both preschool and Sunday school settings. It would be appropriate for themes such as months, seasons, and Thanksgiving. —Alecia M. Ilg
Rylant pairs a series of indoor and outdoor scenes, each framed in a border of patchwork squares and painted with bright, opaque, broadly brushed colors, with a rhymed month-by-month catalog of blessings that will challenge even the hardiest sweet tooth, e.g., for June: "Bless the flowers,/bless the bees,/bless the birds/above the trees,/Bless the bunnies,/kitties too,/Bless each day,/all warm and blue." The pictures are more sanguine and less sentimental; not only are the naively drawn human and animal figures naturally and expressively posed, but the book's overall visual unity is maintained, despite a changing color scheme from spread to spread. Very young children will find soothing rhythms in both pictures and text, but this is more of an artistic achievement than a literary one.
Meet the Author
Cynthia Rylant is the author of more than 100 books for young people, including the beloved Henry and Mudge, Annie and Snowball, Brownie & Pearl, and Mr. Putter & Tabby series. Her novel Missing May received the Newbery Medal. She lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon.