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All Creatures Great and Small, illustrated by Naoko Stoop ($6.95, Sterling Children’s Books, ages 2 and up), is reviewed by the newest book lover on this site, Rita Zobayan. See her bio on our homepage.
I have a certain affinity for the Anglican hymn “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” As a child growing up in London, I often heard this hymn sung during church service, on BBC period pieces, and on English television staple, Songs of Praise. Therefore, when I saw Naoko Stoop’s board book, All Creatures Great and Small, I was excited to take it home and share it with my daughters.
This children’s picture book version of the 1800’s hymn features a young girl and her monkey. The reader follows the pair as they observe and interact with the wonders of God’s creations: animals, flowers, landscapes and seasons. Stoop’s simple but charming illustrations infused with rich and warm hues invite the reader into the pictures, which look as if they have been painted on to a subtle wood grain background. My three-year-old daughter greatly enjoyed pointing to the pictures and naming the actions and animals.
At 20 pages, the book has readability. If you are familiar with the hymn, you can sing the verses and the refrain, which starts and ends the book. Luckily for the musically challenged (such as myself), young children are often forgiving of an out-of-tune, pitchy rendition when it’s sung by their parents. My daughters didn’t seem to mind my off-key warbling. I’m sure the book’s charm provided the sufficient distraction.
All Creatures Great and Small is a great fit for parents who are looking for an easy to understand, faith-based book to present to their young children.