Sunday, March 08, 2009

Just Look: This Is The Day by Nancy White Carlstrom

Tiptoe out into the morning world
and stretch like a deer
reaching for an apple
high on the golden tree.
Stretch through the dew diamonds
glistening on the lawn
where you feed.

Nancy White Carlstrom's just-published This Is the Day! (Zondervan, 2009) draws its theme from a line in Psalms: "This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Carlson's theme is that there is much to rejoice in if we only look at the world with a fresh eye. Greatly abetted by the beautiful paintings of illustrator Richard Cowdrey, Carlson's free verse helps young readers look for and see the beauty of the natural world around them.

Organized with daily vignettes, Carlson describes a scene for each day of the week.

Sense the garden's sweet rose
and your nose might meet a tiny tree frog.
Clap for the river otter
who flips in the water
but waddles across the grass,
through cottonwood fuzz,
finding a way from the pond to the bay.

Each day brings a new scene until Sunday find the family picnicking beside a lighthouse overlooking the sea.

A super pod of orca whales
has been invited,
and here they come--
spy hopping,
spraying and praising.

This is a book which is hard to categorize--part poetry, part observation of nature, and part song of praise for creation. The stunning illustrations, which show so well the texture of petal, feather, whisker, fruit, and fur--are tied together by the great white heron which appears in each full-page painting. Although the text is quite evocative in its way, the pictures are what will hold the reader's full attention and indeed speak for themselves in this song of praise to the beauty of the world.

Carlstrom is, of course, the noted author of the inimitable Jesse Bear books, beginning with that classic story-in-rhyme Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?



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