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No One But You
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No One But You

by Douglas Wood, P.J. Lynch (Illustrator)

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The creators of Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth return with a look at how each person’s experiences in the world are gloriously unique.

Feel the rain kiss your skin or the wind ruffle your hair. Hear the hum of a bumblebee; watch a water strider march across a pond; taste a red, ripe strawberry; whistle with a blade of grass. From Christopher Medal


The creators of Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth return with a look at how each person’s experiences in the world are gloriously unique.

Feel the rain kiss your skin or the wind ruffle your hair. Hear the hum of a bumblebee; watch a water strider march across a pond; taste a red, ripe strawberry; whistle with a blade of grass. From Christopher Medal-winning author Douglas Wood and celebrated illustrator P.J. Lynch comes a moving look at the experiences that belong only to us, marking a place on Earth that is ours alone. After all, who but you can remember your own memories? Wonderfully evocative of nature’s sensory treasures, here is a perfect gift to share with a child - or to inspire loved ones of any age as they set out to create their special place in the world.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Titles of this nature usually accompany a tribute to the unconditional love between parent and child. Here, however, the subject is the relationship of the child to the world, and the magical combination of acuity, empathy, and enthusiasm that determines individual perspective: "No one else in the world can look up at the stars,/ these stars, right now,/ with your own eyes,/ and feel your own special place on this earth," writes Wood (who collaborated with Lynch on Granddad's Prayer of the Earth). Lynch's generously scaled (and occasionally almost life-size) canvas-textured oil portraits capture children's epiphanies from a variety of angles and framings, with the most effective images offering readers a vantage point that a snapshot can't: when a child savors the chill of bare toes dipped into a pond, Lynch provides a literal fish-eye view that looks up through the creamy, dappled aqua water. But the beauty of the pictures can't overcome the book's lack of even a modest dramatic arc. The examples, however heartfelt, feel undifferentiated, and the overall impression is that of a catalogue rather than a reverie. Ages 6–up. (May)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Wood's aim is to inspire young readers to explore the world around them using all their senses, for "the best things, the most important ones of all, are the ones no one can teach you or show you or explain. No one can discover them but you." Only you can feel the rain, the wind, and the puddle with your bare feet. No one but you can hear what's in the trees, see the sparkling sun, feel a turtle's shell, watch a busy bee, savor a strawberry, smell a flower, whistle or sing, cuddle a puppy, enjoy your own memories as you make new ones, or feel the feelings that are all yours. The evocation of the wonders to experience in your own way ends with the very important knowledge that someone loves you. And only you can say, "I love you too." Lynch's double-page naturalistic oil paintings visualize the items described in the text. But most attractive are the close-up portraits of the various children interacting with the flowers, the puppy, a moonlit frog, or peering up in wonder at a star-studded sky. These are appealing, believable youngsters, reminding us to attend to the world around us in our own personal way. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—An omniscient narrator addresses readers directly, informing them that people experience things differently. Examples of direct sensory experiences abound, from feeling the rain and wind to savoring a strawberry. Ironically, the book opens with the statement that the most important things in the world are those that "no one can teach you or show you or explain." Then the rest of the book tries to teach, show, and explain those very things. The awkward text attempts to be general and specific at the same time. Every reader is meant to take personally a statement like "Only one person can notice the hum of a bumblebee on a lazy afternoon as he buzzes past your ear...and that someone is no one but you." The issue of who is being addressed may be further confused by the illustrations of realistic, individual children. The book's solemnity is unlikely to hold children's interest, and the odd mix of universal/individual focus may perplex them. In the end, readers may be left wondering why it matters that "no one but you" can experience these special moments, as the significance of such uniqueness is left unexplained. The tender oil paintings of thoughtful, nature-loving children of various ethnicities are full of life, but, along with the sentiments expressed, they are more likely to resonate with adults than with children.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Kirkus Reviews

Wood and Lynch pair once more (Grandad's Prayers of the Earth, 1999) to celebrate the simple joys of individual moments.

Every action, whether it be smelling the earth after a rain shower or savoring the first bite of a red, ripe strawberry, is unique and personal. "There are so many things in the world, / so many important things / to be taught, / to be shown" Wood imparts, "But the best things... / No one can discover them but you." Children strive to find a place in the world where they feel significant. Allowing them to own these moments, and cherish them, is an important step, and Wood's articulation of this truth should strike chords of recognition in both children and adults. Lynch's softly smudged oil paintings, drenched in sun- and moonlight, match the gentle flow of this sensory walk through nature. City-dwellers may not have experienced all of these specific actions, but they should feel encouraged to come up with a list of their own.

A touching and genuine exhortation that just teeters on the edge of sentimentality but is lifted by a strong purpose: Self-discovery can be found in the most surprisingly simple of moments. (Picture book. 6 & up)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 11.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Douglas Wood is the author of Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth, illustrated by P.J. Lynch and winner of a Christopher Medal. He is also the author of Miss Little’s Gift, illustrated Jim Burke; Aunt Mary’s Rose, illustrated by LeUyen Pham; and the best-selling book Old Turtle. He lives in Sartelle, Minnesota.

P.J. Lynch is the acclaimed illustrator of many beloved books, including
Douglas Wood’s Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth. He won the Kate Greenaway Medal twice, for When Jessie Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest and The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski. P.J. Lynch lives in Ireland.

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