Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise


This joyous book sings thanks and praise for everything in land, sea, and sky-from the sun and moon to plants and animals to all people, young and old. Beloved author-illustrator Tomie dePaola captures the beauty of God's creation in his folk art-style illustrations. With text inspired by Old Testament Scripture and artwork fashioned after the beautiful embroideries and designs of the Otomi people from the mountain villages around San Pablito, in Puebla, Mexico, this is a ...

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This joyous book sings thanks and praise for everything in land, sea, and sky-from the sun and moon to plants and animals to all people, young and old. Beloved author-illustrator Tomie dePaola captures the beauty of God's creation in his folk art-style illustrations. With text inspired by Old Testament Scripture and artwork fashioned after the beautiful embroideries and designs of the Otomi people from the mountain villages around San Pablito, in Puebla, Mexico, this is a wonderful celebration for all to share.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this small-format book, dePaola masterfully pairs simple words and resonant images. Rendered in acrylics and inspired by the folk art of the Otomi people from Puebla, Mexico, the pictures offer primitive depictions of natural phenomena. Celestial objects, fire and heat, mountains and rivers, flora and fauna, and finally humans, all featured in turn, bring to mind the Creation story. DePaola's art is even more elemental than in his The Song of Francis (2009), to which this book is a natural companion; his palette consists of tropical pinks, greens, blues, and purples, which pop against the muted, tea-stained backdrops. Based on two pieces of Old Testament scripture--the Canticle of the Three Young Men from the Book of Daniel and Psalm 148--dePaola's narrative bids specific creatures and forces of nature to give praise, before issuing a cumulative call-out: "Let everything in heaven and on earth bless and praise God." The very largeness of the loose, hand-lettered text, which appears in all caps, amplifies the message, while the joy that emanates from the cheerful spreads confirms its value. Ages 3–5. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—dePaola introduces this title as a reflection on the Old Testament's Psalm 148 and Canticle 13, Song of the Three Young Men, each of which expresses praise and exhorts blessings for the goodness of God's creation. This short, poetic rendition is illustrated with milky watercolor paintings that, according to the artist, were inspired by the art of the Otomi people of Puebla, Mexico. Each spread addresses aspects of the natural world, e.g., "Sun and Moon,/Stars and comets in the heavens./Praise God," accompanied by insipid folk-art-style nature painting. dePaola is a gifted writer and artist with many religious-themed books in his oeuvre. This one uses none of his expressive characters, vivid colors, or inspired storytelling. Children are likely to pass up this title in favor of those that are more comprehensive in their approach to prayer, more visually engaging, or have illustrations with a concrete connection to the text.—Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick's Catholic School, Charlotte, NC
Kirkus Reviews

DePaola takes two pieces of the Old Testament (the Benedicite and Psalm 148) and transmutes them into a simple song for all Creation. It begins, "Sun and moon, / stars and comets in the Heavens. Praise God." The backgrounds are a deep cream (the paper is tea-stained), and the stylized stars and comets float on the page in vibrant but almost translucent acrylic washes. Each double-page spread calls on the world to bless and praise God: light and darkness, frost and snow, "all that sprout," all birds, fish, animals and "All people, / young and old." The text is all hand-lettered, and "God" is always rubricated (displayed in red). The images of birds, fish, animals, flowering plants and so on are in the most elemental of shapes(according to the author's note, he was inspired by the folk art of the Otomi around Puebla, Mexico). The people are representative of all, with green, blue and purple faces and reverent expressions. Every page is infused with joy and color, and sweet touches like the ladybug that sits on the letter G on the cover delight.(Picture book. 4-8)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399254789
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/20/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 278,512
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 8.42 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Tomie dePaola

Tomie dePaola is the acclaimed author and/or illustrator of more than 200 books for children. His most recent book, Strega Nona's Harvest, was a New York Times bestseller.


Born in 1934 into a large extended Irish/Italian family, Tomie dePaola received his art education at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute and the California College of Arts & Crafts. Although he always wanted to create children's books, he spent several years applying his talents to the fields of education, theater, and graphic design. In the mid-1960s, he received his first commission to illustrate a children's science book. A year later, he published his first original picture book, The Wonderful Dragon of Timlin. Today, he is one of the most prolific -- and beloved -- author/illustrators in children's literature.

In addition to illustrating stories by other writers, DePaola has created artwork for collections of poetry, nursery rhymes, holiday traditions, and folk and religious tales. But, he is most famous for books of his own creation, especially Strega Nona ("Grandma Witch"), the beloved story of an old woman who uses her magical powers to help the people of her small Italian village. Written in 1975, this Caldecott Honor winner is still delighting children today.

DePaola admits that there are strong autobiographical elements in many of his books (Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs, The Art Lesson, Stagestruck), but nowhere is this more evident than in 26 Fairmount Avenue, a series of charming chapter books based on his Connecticut childhood. Taking its name from the address of his family home, the series captures the experiences and emotions of a young boy growing up in the late 1930s and early '40s in the shadow of World War II. The first book in the series received a 1999 Newbery Honor Award.

DePaola and his work have been recognized with many honors, including the Smithsonian Medal, the Kerlan Award for "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal, and several awards from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. In 1999, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts bestowed on dePaola the Lotte Jacobi Living Treasure Award for the body of his work.

Good To Know

  • Tomie dePaola's name is pronounced Tommy de POW-la.

  • Between college and graduate school, dePaola spent a short time in a Benedictine monastery before determining that religious life was not for him.

  • Using a combination of watercolor, tempera, and acrylic, dePaola's artistic style is best described as folk-traditional.

  • DePaola's favorite painters and strongest artistic influences are Matisse, Giotto, and Ben Shahn.
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