All Things Bright and Beautiful
By Patricia Tauzer,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Stunning collage work brings simple hymn to life.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This book teaches the words and melody to Cecil Alexander's traditional hymn. It would also be a wonderful way resource for anyone teaching kids how to create cut-paper collages.
This traditional hymn praises all creatures, both great and small. Readers who are comfortable with the religious tone will love the message.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that since this book is an illustrated version of a classic Irish hymn written by Cecil Alexander in the 1800s, it definitely has a religious tone. For example, the lyrics praise "all creatures" as well as "God Almighty" and teach that the "Lord God made them all." Readers who are comfortable with the book's tone will love its message.
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What's the Story?
The pages of ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL illustrate the first verse of Cecil Alexander's classic hymn of praise for all of Earth's creatures. It's followed by a quick biography of the 18th century author and the sheet music with words for singing, or playing, the entire song. The scissors pictured inside the back cover are those that illustrator Ashley Bryan used to create the book -- and, as he explains, they're the same scissors that his mother used for sewing and embroidery.
Is It Any Good?
The book's artwork is as bright and beautiful as the title ... and that's what this book is all about. Some readers may be less enthusiastic about the book's religious content than others, but anyone who picks it up should be able to appreciate the illustrations, which are breathtakingly hued and detailed.
Some parents will recognize the hymn as one they themselves sang as children or one that they've heard sung by choirs around the world.
Amazing "bright and beautiful" collages fill the book's pages. The colors are alive and vibrant, and the amount of detail created by different shades of paper is masterful. Water swirls down mountainsides, a multi-toned whale swims among fish of all shapes and sizes, and birds with glowing colors and tiny wings flutter against a rainbowed sky. And that's just the beginning!
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the hymn and what it means to them. Readers might want to make up other verses of their own, and they can learn the tune and sing it together.
How do the collages illustrate the verses? How does the artist make the scenes seem three-dimensional? What do you think about the scissors shown at the end? Why are they important?
- Author: Cecil Alexander
- Illustrator: Ashley Bryan
- Genre: Picture Book
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Atheneum
- Publication date: January 5, 2010
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 2 - 5
- Number of pages: 40
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
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