There are books you love to read with your kids, and books you love to read for yourself, and books your kids love to read with you, and books they love to read for themselves. And then, every once in a great while, there is a book that so fluidly passes through each of these categories, in and out, out and in, that every single time you read it, alone or with a child, there is something new about it to love. ALL THE WORLD is one of those books. I have to admit up front that Liz Garton Scanlon is one of my online friends, and is very dear to people who are very dear to me, and Marla Frazee has been one of my not-so-secret illustrator crushes for quite a while now. So I completely own up to the fact that I was predisposed to like this book. In fact, I like it so much that my love for it overshadows and taints my children’s love for the book. I don’t think there is any way for them to love it quite as much as I do, so therefore I can’t really use my own children as good judges for how kid-friendly this book is.
The beautiful meaning of ALL THE WORLD might be just a little philosophically above my six-year old girl, though she did put a big huge smiley face on her reading log next to ALL THE WORLD’s entry. We have read it many times. She loves it, I love it. My nine-year old (boy) liked the rhythm, and the language and the small to largeness connection he felt to it. But he hasn’t asked to read it with me again. 😦 And my 11 year old? Well, she loves what I love, but she is beyond the picture book age. (Yes, boo-hoo. I am thrilled that I see her reaching for middle grade novels more and more. I am sad that I no longer see her pouring over the illustrations and words in a picture book we both love.)
So, since I can’t use my own children to gauge how truly kid friendly the book is, I’ll just have to keep reading it and reading it and reading it, for myself, and for others. I’ll sing the praises of this little gem of a book, a perfect marriage of poetry and picture, a book that hits a note that I wish we would all sing more, and one that I often feel from my home in South America. We are connected to one another in big and small ways, across culture, across race, across distance. We are connected to this hallowed ground upon which we tread. Perhaps if we lived in the knowledge of that on a continual basis, there would be more "hope and peace and love and trust/ All the world is all of us." Thank you, Liz and Marla, for this beautiful book I will share with everyone I love.
(Pair this one with THE APPLE PIE THAT PAPA BAKED by Lauren Thompson to extend the idea of community/connection and the Earth’s bounty.)