With sunny watercolors created in a delicate, almost-miniature scale, Daly interprets the familiar words of Ecclesiastes. A small farm by the sea provides an evocative setting for the life cycles of the natural world and of a family. As the simple text reads "A time to be born," a pregnant woman rests outside the farmhouse while the patriarch works on his fishing net and their daughter plays with a doll. Above the words "and a time to die," readers see only the boots of an old-woman neighbor (observed previously tending her cow), outside of her darkened, shuttered hut. As time passes and seasons change, so does the family change and grow with its surroundings. All the while, readers are whisked away to what is presumably the artist's native South Africa via the soothing and enormously appealing illustrations. A final page spotlights the full Biblical passage Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. All ages. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-This inspirational passage is presented through a series of simply drawn, softly colored illustrations. Rather than represent the duality of humanity's existence with an overview of world cultures, as Leo and Diane Dillon did in their interpretation (Scholastic, 1998), Daly concentrates on one particular culture, depicting rural life in South Africa. Beginning with an overarching view of the four seasons, each pair of succeeding lines is illustrated with vignettes of the farmers on their farms. Readers see them plant and harvest their crops, raise their children, and experience life's simple pleasures and sorrows. Women and children are shown in most of the scenes, and the land, sea, and sky dominate each picture; the miniature stature of the people calls to mind their relative insignificance against the awesome forces of nature. The carefully detailed images convey the importance of unity and family. The layout of opposing lines of verse on separate pages or in different frames works well. The entire verse, taken from the King James Version of the Bible, is printed at the end. A subtle interpretation of a well-known piece of scripture.-Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The well-known words from the King James Version of the Book of Ecclesiastes are interpreted here with a rural South African setting that skillfully illuminates each pair of contrasting concepts. Daly focuses on two households: a red house with a young family and a blue house nearby with a single elderly woman. The family welcomes a new baby ("a time to be born"), while the sealed door of the blue house and empty boots outside illustrates the neighbor's passing ("a time to die"). Another young family moves into the blue house, repairing and repainting it ("a time to build up"), and then the interaction of the two families demonstrates each consecutive concept of the Bible verses. Daly's detailed illustrations in a soft palette often use a panel format showing large expanses of fields, sand and sky, with the people shown as small figures. This design orientation makes the reader observe each illustration closely to interpret the illustration's connection to the words and to spot the tiny, cleverly inserted details, such as a little girl's doll that appears on each page. (Picture book. 4-8)