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Look and Be Grateful Hardcover – July 20, 2015
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From School Library Journal
PreS-K—With very simple wording, accompanied by dePaola's signature illustrations, this text reminds young children that every day is a gift for which we should be grateful. The nondenominational lesson does not mention God or any particular religion, although two children are pictured in prayer stance on their knees with heads bowed. The visual story begins on the endpages with a moonlit and starlit night. Darkness fades on the title page. The sun rises outside a window as a sleeping child is directed, "Open your eyes, and look." Observing nature is important as the pictures include plants, animals, and insects, in addition to the children. A spread shows hands of varying skin tones reaching toward one another. The uncluttered pages suit the minimal text and make the book accessible to very young children. VERDICT A gentle message for families, church preschools, and other early childhood programs.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
Rather than go the route of many before him in this genre and provide a catalogue of all the things that readers should be thankful for, dePaola takes a different tack: he urges his audience to be fully present in and grateful for the world around them a kind of Zen equivalent to Just do it ( Open your eyes,/ And look./ Open your eyes,/ And see./ And say thank you,/ For today is today ). The brief, emphatic message never feels hectoring; dePaola writes with just enough rhythm and repetition to give the book the homespun, incantatory feel of a lullaby. Dreamy, tableau-like visuals distilled to the essence of thoughts and rendered in soft, nursery-room colors (peach and turquoise predominate) reinforce the mood. At the center of this meditation is a serious, wide-eyed boy who wakes up, observes and encounters nature (one spread consists entirely of a child s hand serving as a temporary resting spot for a ladybug), shares the bounty from a fruit tree with his younger sister, and then joins her in evening prayers. With its naive beauty and unaffected solemnity, it s a little book that may quickly become a treasured keepsake. All ages. (Oct.) --Publishers Weekly
The beloved, Wilder Award-winning illustrator spins a simple paean to gratitude. DePaola has been moving toward an ever more simple and radiant aesthetic, as his pictures become increasingly iconic and his colors, as on this beautiful tea-stained paper, become as translucent as glass. There are only about 40 words in this small volume, including the dedication ("For all the children"). Following the path of his Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise (2011), he pares down his hymn of joy to the single moment, to the day we have been given. Even toddlers will recognize the sun, the ladybug, the flowers, and the oranges, and they will comprehend the mostly one-syllable, hand-lettered words and the open-gestured hands in many skin tones. The repetition of those open hands, the image of a white dove, and the girl and boy on the cover echo the repeated words of gratitude. The blue and gold endpapers are filled with stars. Thank you, Tomie. (Picture book. 3-8) --Kirkus Reviews, starred review
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I have recommended this book to other moms for their kids; but also to adults to use as well. One adult
who ordered it loves it too.