Reviews for All Things Bright and Beautiful

Booklist Reviews 2010 March #1
*Starred Review* Bryan's artwork is at its best in this interpretation of the title's famous hymn, written by nineteenth-century Irish poet Cecil Alexander to a seventeenth-century melody. The bright, swirling, colored-paper collage images focus on earth's 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. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
Bryan's arresting cut-paper collages beautifully illuminate the text based on verses from the title hymn. The pictures celebrate people of different ethnicities as well as a broad spectrum of creatures from the animal kingdom. Back matter includes biographical notes about the hymn's writer, Cecil Frances Alexander, and musical notation. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 January #2

Five-time Coretta Scott King Award-winner Bryan (Let It Shine) interprets Cecil F. Alexander's 19th-century hymn with cut-paper art defined by swirling geometrical shapes in neon hues, contributing to a pervasively jubilant atmosphere. Every spread is a riot of colors, movement, and natural splendors: a gray whale that recalls Haida artwork is the centerpiece of one of the "All creatures great and small," scenes. In another, a rainbow presides over rushing waterfalls and rivers that flow from "purple-headed" mountains amid small villages. Bryan notes that he created the artwork using his late mother's embroidery scissors, which are pictured on the endpapers, lending a personal dimension; a biographical sketch of Alexander and musical notation are also included. The hymn's traditional roots are exquisitely juxtaposed against Bryan's global and contemporary scope (skin tones that range from deep brown to taupe are all seen in the hands of a creator, which reach down from the heavens beneath the line, "All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all"). Bryan taps into the hymn's celebratory nature to produce a triumphal vision of creation. Ages 2-5. (Jan.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 April

PreS-Gr 2--Bryan elevates a beloved hymn to new heights in this joyful treatment of Alexander's classic song. This hymn has been interpreted by artists such as Anna Vojtech (NorthSouth, 2006), Bruce Whatley (HarperCollins, 2001), and others, but Bryan's 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 mother's scissors (which he now uses) on the endpapers, along with an illustrator's note and musical notation. This is a memorable interpretation that's rich in color and detail.--Lisa Glasscock, Columbine Public Library, Littleton, CO

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