From the Publisher
Kirkus Reviews This gracious tale gently encourages children to savor the wonders of all life.
Horn Book Appealingly poetic
Publishers Weekly The sweet, rhythmic text is both cheery and unabashedly sentimental.
"Like the lyrics to The Sound of Music's `My Favorite Things,' this picture-book list of what is wonderful in the world includes both raindrops and roses. The sweet, rhythmic text is both cheery and unabashedly sentimental," wrote PW. All ages. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like the lyrics to The Sound of Music's "My Favorite Things," Rylant's picture-book list of what is wonderful in the world includes both raindrops and roses. The sweet, rhythmic text is both cheery and unabashedly sentimental. It begins with basic bread: "In a little kitchen/ someone butters bread,/ wonderful bread./ the earth grew wheat,/ the wheat made flour,/ and the wonderful happened:/ bread." Rylant sets up a premise that conveys nature's cause and effect: bread comes from flour, birds from eggs, roses from seeds. Dowley frames her illustrations with homey, quiltlike borders in simple flowered or geometric patterns. Branches of a peach tree teem with bees, a butterfly and a clone of the bright bluebird seen in Disney's Cinderella. Then abruptly, in the middle of a full-bleed spread of a blue sky dotted with a single yellow star, the text asks, "Did you know/ there was a time/ when you weren't anywhere?" Setting aside how puzzling this question might be to a child and that her answer goes against the simple logic of the first three-quarters of the book, Rylant suggests that children just happen ("you happened/ like bread, like a bird, like rain,/.../ the wonderful happened,/ the wonderful is you/ growing like a red red rose." Unfortunately, despite its feel-good appeal and images, the book lacks a coherent vision. All ages. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
In free verse, Rylant marvels at commonplace occurrences, from the hatching of a baby bird to the nightly emergence of luminescent stars. Her simple words are imbued with a sense of reverence for life in its many manifestations. The mundane mingles with the miraculous as she ponders the mechanical precision of clocks with the same sense of wonder as the beauty of an unfurling, crimson-hued rose."There is ivy, / there are worms, / there are clocks that keep time. / there's a moon lighting up a night sky. / and most of all and best of all, / it all never ends, / for the wonderful happens / and happens again." Rylant's enumeration of wonderful things culminates with the acknowledgement of the reader's existence. However, do not look for a lesson in reproduction here. Rylant likens the creation of children to a happening such as rain or snow; weaving it into fabric of life on earth. Former Hallmark art director Dowley's cozy, folk-style illustrations are a perfect foil for Rylant's prose. Lushly colored illustrations are surrounded by detailed borders in a country motif while the full-page, full-bleed paintings in the second half depict a merry group of multicultural children enjoying the splendor of the seasons. This gracious tale gently encourages children to savor the wonders of all life surrounding them and to rejoice in that most precious gift of life: themselves. (Picture book. 3-7)