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Saturday, December 1, 2018

We've Got the Whole World in Our Hands, written and illustrated by Rafael Lopez. Orchard Books, Scholastic. $23.99 ages 2 and up

"We've got the sun and the rain
in our hands.

We've got the moon and the
stars in our hands.

We've got the whole world
in our hands.

We've got the wind and the
clouds in our hands!"

This celebration begins with a many-colored ball of yarn that moves across the endpapers and stops at the feet of a young girl. She begins to unravel it, and seems tangled in the glory of the brilliant colors. Soon, she is embracing those colors as she releases the ball of yarn to the world and the children therein. As the children follow the yarn over hills and across meadows, they capture the attention of the sun, the rain, and many animals from a wide variety of environments.

On they go to many countries of the world. The yarn connects one child to the next, and all of them to each other. They reach for it, they walk on it, and they welcome many of the animals found throughout the world to their parade. It finally becomes the strings for a hot air balloon that carries them to the night skies and the wonder found there.

Music for this well-known spiritual is provided, as well as a note about its origin, and a note about the inspiration that brings it to book form. That description is wonderful to read:

"Rafael Lopez loves color because it speaks all languages. He uses an array of hues that come in large recycled salsa jars from Mexico, along with mixed media. Using his collection of tools and twigs, he scratches texture on the illustrated surface of wooden boards and watercolor paper. With his favorite pair of scissors, he cuts shapes out of Bristol paper and then plays with pen and ink, watercolor, and Adobe Photoshop to conjure the personalities of clouds and characters."

I would love to know that much about every illustrated book I read. It sends me right back to the pages of this wondrous book to see if I can see how he did it. 

We all need to hear messages that empower us and give us hope. This is a glorious celebration of unity through love for the world we live in and the future that lives in the hands of our children. There is diversity in everything, and we need to embrace it as they do.

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