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Grandad's Prayers of the Earth Paperback – September 22, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers 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 messageAin 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 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 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 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (September 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076364675X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763646752
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.1 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This wonderful book is deeply spiritual without advocating any one religion. A Christian family could read it together and take as much from it as a Jewish or Pagan family could.
A simple walk in the woods with Grandad plants the seeds of prayer in a young boys heart, seeds which help him grow when his grandad has passed and feels very alone.
"Each living thing gives its life to the beauty of all life, and that gift is its prayer," Grandad teaches gently.
The words are a bit difficult for the very young, but the gorgeously detailed watercolor illustrations seem to facinate all. I would recommend this book to all families who experience a loss of a loved one or who wish to introduce their children to prayer. Bereaved adults might also benefit from this book; reading it brought back memories of my father and walking and talking with him.
Buy this book for your children and read it to them for yourself. You won't regret it.
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Format: Hardcover
Like Wood's book, Old Turtle, this story is more for adults than for the children they'll read it to - the illustrations (a different illustrator) are beautiful, using soft autumn watercolor tones to illustrate grandfather as he speaks with his grandchild about nature, spirit and the connection all people have to one another.
Essentially this is a book about loss, dying and eternal life. It can be a beginning point for a discussion with older children (ages 8 - 16 or so) who have experienced a loss of any beloved friend or family member.
If I had grandchildren, I'd want to have the hardcover book available for them to read. The book is written to offer room for people of nearly any faith (even agnostics) to begin a discussion the meaning of life and dying.
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Format: Hardcover
Heartfelt and warm, without going overboard on the emotions. I especially liked the way this book showed the love of the Grandfather for his grandson and vice versa. It's portrays a lasting and wonderful relationship. Perfect for my teenage boys. One of the best picture books I have read. I am sure this will become an instant classic that will stand the test of time. Douglas Wood's writing is concise with perfect timing, he carries the reader immediately into a quiet walk where you can practically smell meadow flowers and hear the trees growing. P.J. Lynch's illustrations are more than beautiful, they carry the tone perfectly and add individual touches of poignant reality to the script.
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By A Customer on January 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Truly this is one of the most beautiful children's books I've read in years. The illustrations are gorgeous, capturing both the awesome splendor of nature and the love between the boy and his grandfather. The message is one of spirit, communion with nature, love, and communication. No religious path is specified and none need be. The message this book contains is universal. Ralph Waldo Emerson would have loved it.
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Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful book for any child (or adult)! I really enjoyed the warm relationship that the boy had with his granddad. The closeness that they shared was really touching. I liked the way the prayers were described--I never looked at prayer in that light before. It really got me thinking, and I felt really good after reading this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Buddha teaches that the more that one says about enlightenment (or about god), the less accurate it is. No, this book is not specific, dictating what prayer is, who prayer should be directed at, or what major words should be repeated until they have no meaning. This book is about prayer. It is about silence. It is about seeing god in all creation. It is about aesthetics. Hesitant with dogma, but abundant in beauty, this book was a marvelous tool to discuss what prayer means with my children.
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Format: Hardcover
The beautiful words and the captivating images provided in Douglas Wood and P.J. Lynch's Grandad's Prayers of the Earth is a gift to individuals of all ages. The peaceful water color images, depicted by Lynch, create a dream-like memory book of a story recalled by a grandson. Throughout the story his grandfather points out the elements of nature, which together all offer prayers and a gift of beauty to life. The child, as does the reader, strains to listen for the "prayers of the earth." As the grandfather and grandson continue to discover the beauty around them the warm hues in the pictures reflect the love, safety and peace offered by the verse-like text. When the grandfather passes on the young child struggles to find the comfort he once felt on those walks with his grandfather. It is not until the child grows older and learns how to listen, as his granfather taught him, to the prayers of the earth that he finds that peace once again.
This book imbeds many elements of prayer including how to pray and the different ways prayers are offered. However, it is not only a lesson in prayer. It is one of remembering a loved one and the internal struggle that is felt when a loved one is lost. This struggle is one a person of any age can relate to.
Douglas Wood and P.J. Lynch have captured a story of love; love between a grandfather and his grandson, between a man and the natural world, and between a greater being and oneself.
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