Ashley Bryan has to be one of the most wonderful people in the
whole state of Maine. He is a very talented artist. Using colored
papers and his beloved mother's embroidery scissors (I love that
detail) he creates breathtaking collages. He's given us over 35
books, each of which is a treasure.
In person he's amazing. On stage he's like a hummingbird. Even
standing still he's in motion. He's always observing. Maybe that's
one reason his art is so wonderfully detailed. If you get to talk to
him as I did, his enthusiastic attention is a precious gift.
Imagine my joy when I saw that he had illustrated the hymn, All
Things Bright And Beautiful. It in itself is wonderful and timely.
In a decade when kids (and adults, truth be told) too often spend more
time interacting with electronic media than outside and the disconnect
between human and non human life has grown exponentially, the natural
world is too often neglected. Whether we believe in God, evolution,
or, like me, both, the same Being/process that brought us into being
gave birth to cats, butterflies, frogs...all things bright and
beautiful. We ignore this at our own peril.
The marriage of hymn and collage is truly transformative. Each
page is worthy of careful study. "all creatures great and small"
features an underwater scene in which a whale swims among multicolored
smaller fish, a blue eyed octopus, a dancing crab, and other
delightful creatures. "all things wise and wonderful" brings us back
to dry land. Birds soar over a book open to pages of terrestrial
animals with a tree rooted in the book and branching upward, bridging
both spheres. Interpretations of the wind and sun are delightfully
I advise you to read All Things Bright And Beautiful and then
head to your local library to check out Bryan's earlier books. It's a
destination well worth the journey.
On a personal note, this is, can you believe it?, my 100th blog
post!!! In about a year and a half I have read and encouraged you to
try 100 books. Quite the mile stone we're sharing! For me this has
been a labor of love. I can think of few things I would rather do
than read and write about books! (Next post I'll include FAQs.)
Oh, yeah, Joey cat's surgery went fine!
He is very happy to be home. He's even purring in his sleep. :)
A great big shout out goes to you, my readers, of course! Here's to
100 more posts!
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod