All things bright and beautiful; all creatures great and small; all things wise and wonderful, the incredible Ashley Bryan illustrates them all!
Ashley Bryan grew up to the sound of his mother singing from morning to night, and he has shared the joy of song with children ever since. A beloved illustrator, he has been the recipient of the Coretta Scott King—Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award; he has also been a May Hill Arbuthnot lecturer, a Coretta Scott King Award winner, and the recipient of countless other awards and recognitions. He lives in Islesford, one of the Cranberry Isles off the coast of Maine, where he can often be found with a cluster of children, all singing.
Bryans artwork is at its best in this interpretation of the titles famous hymn, written by nineteenthcentury Irish poet Cecil Alexander to a seventeenth-century melody. The bright, swirling, colored-paper collage images focus on earths creatures, in the sea, on land, and in the sky, as well as on the connections between them. The images come to a climax in a gorgeous, double-page spread of two young girls, one black, one white, celebrating who they are and what they see in the world: children, flowers, mountains, trees, stars, the moon, and the sun. Using the musical score printed on the last page, grown-ups can sing along as they share the book with young kids, who will want to point to the small details in every scene even as they absorb the sweeping sense of the interconnected world. From deep-sea views of a whale and fish to soaring scenes of a purple mountaintop, the rainbow theme is constant and extends to pictures of an arch that fills the sky and beams that glow from the open pages of a book. On other spreads, children of all races celebrate sunset and morning, the winter wind and summer sun, and lush gardens, with the words that God almighty made them all. A beautiful celebration of the elemental creation story. — Hazel Rochman, BOOKLIST, March 1, 2010, STAR
Bryan elevates a beloved hymn to new heights in this joyful treatment of Alexanders classic song. This hymn has been interpreted by artists such as Anna Vojtech (NorthSouth, 2006), Bruce Whatley (HarperCollins, 2001), and others, but Bryans multicultural celebration of God and creation bursts with originality and contemporary appeal. Cut-paper collages in cheerful hues depict scenes of people, animals, and nature. Each illustration holds its own, as there are no weak links here. Opening with a sunburst Ferris wheel full of adults and children of many nations and ending with the multicolored hands of the Creator reaching down from the sky, the artist has created a masterpiece in which art and text work together. Bryan includes images of his mothers scissors (which he now uses) on the endpapers, along with an illustrators note and musical notation. This is a memorable interpretation thats rich in color and detail.–SLJ, April 1, 2010