Reviews for All God's Critters

Booklist Reviews 2008 December #2
"A song by children s folk-singer Staines is brought to rollicking life by Nelson s artwork in this howl-along picture book. The refrain begins All God s critters got a place in the choir, / some sing low, some sing higher, / some sing out loud on the telephone wire. The tune then moves into solo and ensemble performances by dogs and cats and cows and hippos and possums and porcupines and on and on, adding their own voices and personalities to the hubbub. In each delightful spread, full-to-bursting with said critters energy, Nelson proves himself to be as adept painting jubilant scenes of barnyard animals raising a ruckus as he is creating the more gravitas-laden artwork for which he is justly celebrated. The oversize type of the lyrics nearly shouts off the page, making this a great choice for groups of excitable singers; but it works just as well on an individual level, allowing children to point out the various animals while mimicking their joyful noise. Be sure to keep this book far, far away at bedtime, though." Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2008 December #2
The catchy, feel-good folk song comes to life like never before in this spirited production. Framing the initial spread with rich, red curtains, Nelson creates a stage production into which he ultimately draws all of the animals that appear in the lyrics, including, among others, several types of birds, an enormous, shiny hippo and a pony sporting daisies and braids in her mane. The singing and dancing animals are a delightful combination of hyper-realism and ridiculousness that often spills right off the pages. One of the final spreads is a fold-out in which the outer leaves serve as stage curtains that open to reveal a four-panel spread featuring the entire cast of characters in an exuberant chorus line. It is the next spread that truly captures the spirit of the song, however, as the visual perspective dramatically swings around, allowing readers to look from the stage out into the audience of assorted animals who, it turns out, are putting on a show of their own. "All God's critters got a place in the choir," indeed. (music) (Picture Book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 December #4

As every alumni of children's chapel can attest, this vacation Bible school favorite is about the most fun you can have in church. Nelson (Coretta Scott, reviewed Dec. 15), taking a break from a recent string of more sober topics, lets loose with high-spirited illustrations that have tons of kid appeal. Bow-tied dogs and cats sing alongside a Buddha-bellied hippopotamus, a frog, a fox and plenty of feathered friends, all of which have the solid, rounded forms of favorite toys. The red velvet drapes that serve as endpapers suggest the performance aspect, and the large trim size invites sing-alongs (although the dark font against dark backgrounds on a few spreads is difficult to read). The visual pacing reveals knowledge of how the song works in real life: the double spread with just one line of text, "And the old cow just goes, 'Mooooo,' " will allow the audience to stretch out the vowel for the customary full minute or so before it's necessary to turn the page. A gatefold opens to reveal the animals in kick-line formation and full-throated bliss. The last two pages contain the sheet music, helpful as this energetic book ought to find a place in just about every choir. Ages 5-8. (Jan.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 January

PreS-Gr 2--A theater curtain opens on Staines's classic folk song populated with the gorgeous array of animals featured in the lyrics. Each spread shows singing, howling, and yowling beasts set against dramatic lighting that varies from misty sunlight to darkest night. The anthropomorphized critters are all hams and seem to enjoy their moments in the spotlight. Nelson's rich illustrations display an exuberance that comes to a rousing finale in a foldout, rainbow-drenched spread followed by a view of the wildly cheering audience and the bowing performers. Musical notation appears as the curtain closes. Libraries that own the version illustrated by Margot Zemach (Dutton, 1989) will still want to share Nelson's critters with storytime groups.--Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha Public Library, WI

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