Grandad's Prayers of the Earth

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"Wood conveys a sense of something larger in the world, and gives voice to the human longing to understand."KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)

Grandad is the boy’s best friend. Being with him always makes the world seem right. And how vast that world is: a world of tall trees that reach for the clouds and sun and moon and stars – and what else is reaching for heaven but a prayer? Each time he and Grandad walk in the woods, the boy listens for the prayers of the earth. And ...

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"Wood conveys a sense of something larger in the world, and gives voice to the human longing to understand."KIRKUS REVIEWS (starred review)

Grandad is the boy’s best friend. Being with him always makes the world seem right. And how vast that world is: a world of tall trees that reach for the clouds and sun and moon and stars – and what else is reaching for heaven but a prayer? Each time he and Grandad walk in the woods, the boy listens for the prayers of the earth. And finally the boy asks: "Are our prayers answered?" One day, long after Grandad is gone, long after the boy is grown, he understands Grandad’s reply: "If we listen very closely, a prayer is often its own answer." Douglas Wood, author of OLD TURTLE, has written a wise and moving story for all ages, beautifully illustrated by the acclaimed P.J. Lynch.

Because Grandad has explained how all things in the natural world pray and make a gift to the beauty of life, his grandson is comforted when Grandad dies.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
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. " 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.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-In spectacular double-page outdoor scenes shown from a variety of perspectives, a young boy and his grandfather wander along woodsy lanes, gaze up at towering pines, teeter across a rushing stream, and dream by a lake lit with sunset glow. These beautiful, meditative, realistic watercolors of nature in all seasons are interspersed with close-ups of the two as they talk about prayer. Grandad explains that all earthly beings pray: trees in reaching for heaven, rocks by being still and silent, streams while splashing and flowing, flowers by releasing their fragrance, birds in song, and so on. Human beings pray in many ways, he says, and all of the prayers are valid as long as they are true and heartfelt. When Grandad dies, the boy's prayers, no matter how fervent, can not bring him back. Consequently, he rejects the practice for some time, but eventually turns again to the natural world and begins to hear the prayers of trees, breezes, birds, and waters, just as his grandfather had said he would. The boy, now a teenager, then gives thanks for his grandfather's life, feeling that he is close and the world seems right again. Without mentioning any specific God or belief, the thoughtful text celebrates all creation and is perfectly complemented by the moving, expressive illustrations.-Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763646752
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 9/22/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas Wood is the author of numerous books for adults and children, including the highly acclaimed and bestselling OLD TURTLE, which won the ABBY Award for 1993 and was named IRA Book of the Year. Of GRANDAD'S PRAYERS OF THE EARTH, he says, "I feel I've been getting ready to write this book all my life, for it is about my wise and gentle hero, my Grandad. It's a prayer and a thankyou, a walk in the woods and a remembering smile; and it is for anyone who has ever had a woods to walk, a prayer to whisper, a hero to love." Douglas Wood lives with his family in a log cabin on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minnesota. This is his first book for Candlewick Press.

P.J. Lynch is the renowned illustrator of many children's picture books and has twice been awarded both the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Christopher Medal.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A nice remebrance of your grandfather

    If I had to write a book that I wanted my grandson to read, it would be this book. This book was introduced to me by one of the members of our Wednesday bible study group. You don't have to be religious or Christian to enjoy this book. It's simply a human book written for humanity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2000

    A hearwarming classic for kids and adults

    ' Every person that I have shared this book with has then gone out and bought it themselves; either to keep or to give as a gift to someone the story reminded them of. My parents and sister both requested their own copies, and I bought one for my infant nephew with an inscription encouraging him to carry the story in his heart so that he too will one day hear the prayers of the earth. This children's book is destined to be a classic. Ironically, it will probably be most meaningful and poignant to the adults making the purchase. I would not alter one word of the text, and the illustrations are equally exemplary and evocative. Rarely do an author and an illustrator achieve such symmetry in their work. This book has quickly become my family's favorite...highly recommended.

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