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All God's Critters
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All God's Critters

4.8 6
by Bill Staines, Kadir Nelson (Illustrator)

Big...small...quiet...loud...feathered, flippered, or furred....

All God's critters have a place in the choir! And this jubilant and raucous bunch is waiting for you to join in because everybody has a part to sing. It doesn't matter if you sing like a bird...howl like a wolf...or croak like a frog!


Big...small...quiet...loud...feathered, flippered, or furred....

All God's critters have a place in the choir! And this jubilant and raucous bunch is waiting for you to join in because everybody has a part to sing. It doesn't matter if you sing like a bird...howl like a wolf...or croak like a frog!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

As every alumni of children's chapel can attest, this vacation Bible school favorite is about the most fun you can have in church. Nelson (Coretta Scott, reviewed Dec. 15), taking a break from a recent string of more sober topics, lets loose with high-spirited illustrations that have tons of kid appeal. Bow-tied dogs and cats sing alongside a Buddha-bellied hippopotamus, a frog, a fox and plenty of feathered friends, all of which have the solid, rounded forms of favorite toys. The red velvet drapes that serve as endpapers suggest the performance aspect, and the large trim size invites sing-alongs (although the dark font against dark backgrounds on a few spreads is difficult to read). The visual pacing reveals knowledge of how the song works in real life: the double spread with just one line of text, "And the old cow just goes, 'Mooooo,' " will allow the audience to stretch out the vowel for the customary full minute or so before it's necessary to turn the page. A gatefold opens to reveal the animals in kick-line formation and full-throated bliss. The last two pages contain the sheet music, helpful as this energetic book ought to find a place in just about every choir. Ages 5-8. (Jan.)

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Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The text is the song by Staines complete with the repeated chorus: "All God's children have a place in the choir—Some sing low, some sing higher…" As the many critters are listed, from the bottom bass of the bull-frog and hippo through the dog and cat in the middle to the birds on top, they themselves cavort across the double pages. The theme is set in the words, but the variations are created by Nelson's inventive mixed-media creations using pencil, oils, and watercolors. As a theatrical production, the red stage curtains part, the backdrops vary, but the changing cast dominates the scenes. Naturalistic but heavy on the comic, the chubby hippo seems to star from the jacket, but all dozen or so critters are a delight to watch as they have a great time. The four-page fold-out is just the right size to hold a traditional chorus line with all the cast singing, high kicking, and having a ball. Readers can enjoy themselves even without the included song. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2

A theater curtain opens on Staines's classic folk song populated with the gorgeous array of animals featured in the lyrics. Each spread shows singing, howling, and yowling beasts set against dramatic lighting that varies from misty sunlight to darkest night. The anthropomorphized critters are all hams and seem to enjoy their moments in the spotlight. Nelson's rich illustrations display an exuberance that comes to a rousing finale in a foldout, rainbow-drenched spread followed by a view of the wildly cheering audience and the bowing performers. Musical notation appears as the curtain closes. Libraries that own the version illustrated by Margot Zemach (Dutton, 1989) will still want to share Nelson's critters with storytime groups.-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha Public Library, WI

Kirkus Reviews
The catchy, feel-good folk song comes to life like never before in this spirited production. Framing the initial spread with rich, red curtains, Nelson creates a stage production into which he ultimately draws all of the animals that appear in the lyrics, including, among others, several types of birds, an enormous, shiny hippo and a pony sporting daisies and braids in her mane. The singing and dancing animals are a delightful combination of hyper-realism and ridiculousness that often spills right off the pages. One of the final spreads is a fold-out in which the outer leaves serve as stage curtains that open to reveal a four-panel spread featuring the entire cast of characters in an exuberant chorus line. It is the next spread that truly captures the spirit of the song, however, as the visual perspective dramatically swings around, allowing readers to look from the stage out into the audience of assorted animals who, it turns out, are putting on a show of their own. "All God's critters got a place in the choir," indeed. (music) (Picture Book. 4-8)

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.36(w) x 11.18(h) x 0.43(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Kadir Nelson is an award-winning American artist whose works have been exhibited in major national and international publications, institutions, art galleries, and museums. Nelson is the illustrator of many beloved, award-winning, and bestselling picture books including, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, winner of the Coretta Scott King and Robert F. Sibert Award; Thunder Rose, written by Jerdine Nolen, which received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award; Ellington Was Not a Street, written by Ntozake Shange, which received a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award; Hewitt Anderson’s Great Big Life, written by Jerdine Nolen, which won the 2005 Society of Illustrators Gold Medal; and Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya by Donna Jo Napoli called “stunning” by Kirkus Reviews in a starred review. He is also the illustrator of Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan’s Salt in His Shoes and Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee’s Please, Baby, Please and Please, Puppy, Please. Kadir Nelson lives in Los Angeles.

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All God's Critters 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
PJK More than 1 year ago
This would be an even better edition if there were a CD of the song so children would be able to hear it. Not many are able to play the music at the end of the book. I learned this song more than 25 years ago and was thrilled to see the book. I bought 3 copies and gave them as gifts to folks I knew would be able to share music with children. It is such a great song!!!! It would be wonderful to find a recording of this song, even if it were part of a collection.
cpkreader More than 1 year ago
The author has taken a favorite song of mine and combined it with pictures of wonderfully cheerful 'critters' dancing and laughing and having a grand time rejoicing in their creation. Each praises God in their own way, by singing or clapping or however they are able. The song has been around since 1993 (at least), and the score is included in the back of the book for the musically inclined to be able to play while singing this with their family. I think this book would be acceptable to anyone who believes in God as a loving and inventive creator with a sense of humor.
CATHY1969 More than 1 year ago
ohtheplaces More than 1 year ago
We sing this song in our folk choir at church. Finding this book was a plus. The illustrations are incredible. Whether you know this song or not, your children will delight in this book.
Sharon13 More than 1 year ago
What a special message for young children (and adults!) that everyone has a place in this world! I had an original copy of this book and sing the song regularly with my preschool class, but this new edition is FABULOUS!!! The illustrations are so wonderful-colorful and fun! The animal characters are adorable-the kids react so positively to the pictures.The repitition is age appropriate and the message of the writing is a real truth-God loves VARIETY! My class will soon be doing a school performance based on this story!! It's fun to sing high, low, and medium. Everyone can join in.
clouisiii More than 1 year ago
I saw it at a Bill Staines concert in Baltimore - I pre-ordered it when we got home. I gave away two copies of the book. One to a second grade teacher one to a pre-K teacher, both loved it. Bill's song was always fun now the story and the pictures can be used to teach diversity, everybody has a gift and maybe the best ~ just to have some fun while they learn without knowing. With a CD single it would be perfect!