Grandad's prayers of the earth

Author Wood, Douglas,
Language English
London: Walker, 1999


Because Grandad has explained how all things in the natural world pray and make a gift to the beauty of life, his grandson is comforted when Grandad dies.

Subjects :

  • Prayer
  • Death
  • Fiction
  • Grandfathers
  • Nature

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Author Illustrator(s) :

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Best Books :

  • Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for PreK-Grade 6, 13th Edition, 2002 National Council of Teachers of English
  • Books About Trauma, Tragedy and Loss, 2002 Children's Book Council
  • Los Angeles' 100 Best Books, 1999 IRA Children's Literature and Reading SIG and the Los Angeles Unified School District

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Awards, Honors & Prizes :

  • ABC Children's Booksellers Choices Award, 2000 Winner United States
  • Christopher Award, 2000 Winner United States
  • Parents' Choice Award, 2000 Recommended United States
  • Storytelling World Resource Award, 2000 Honor Book United States

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Curriculum Tools :

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Reading Measurement Programs:

9780763606602, 076360660X, 9780763646752
Candlewick Press (Cambridge Mass.:) 1999.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Lower Grade
Book Level 4.1
Accelerated Reader Points 0

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Reviews :

Shelley Townsend-Hudson (Booklist, December 1, 1999 (Vol. 96, No. 7))
Author of the popular Old Turtle (1992), Wood portrays the loving relationship between a boy and his grandfather as they talk about the subject of prayer. The poetic text conveys a deep sense of wonder about the natural world, while focusing on the relationship between the characters. When, years later, the grandfather dies, the boy is comforted by remembering his grandfather's gentle ways, his love of the natural world, and his deep faith. In a style that is controlled, sentimental, and filled with metaphors (there are many examples of how elements in nature reflect the spirit of prayer), Wood presents the subjects of prayer and death in a way that stirs the imagination and offers hope. Lynch's lovely, realistic watercolors suit the emotions perfectly. Category: For the Young. 1999, Candlewick, $16.99. Ages 5-8.
(PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press (Cambridge Mass.:), PUBLISHED: 1999.)

Mary Quattlebaum (Children's Literature)
Douglas Wood celebrates the special relationship between grandparent and child in Grandad's Prayers of the Earth. While walking in the woods with his grandfather, a young boy asks about prayers. The older man tells him about trees reaching to heaven and stones sitting silent and streams praising with movement, but the boy isn't sure he can hear the voices of the natural world. When his grandfather dies, though, the boy finds solace in listening to the prayers his grandfather loved. P.J. Lynch's detailed watercolors convey the quiet beauty of the changing seasons. 1999, Candlewick, $16.99. Ages 6 up.
(PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press (Cambridge Mass.:), PUBLISHED: 1999.)

Judy Silverman (Children's Literature)
Grandad and his grandson, who narrates this lovely, moving book, have a wonderfully close relationship. When the grandson asks questions, Grandad answers them, even the hard ones. One day the child asks Grandad about prayers. And Grandad tells him that all things on earth pray--trees, rocks, streams, animals, birds--everything. Sometimes the streams "pray with laughter, chuckling to their friends the rocks...who "pray silently...The wind prays as it whispers and moans and sighs...It (seems as if it) is ...singing a hymn at the same time." People pray with words, Grandad says. They use prayers already written or their own words, he tells the boy, and "the words will always be right if they are real and true and come from the heart." And prayers don't always ask for something. These prayers are often their own answers. " is when we change ourselves... that the world is changed." This is a lot for the boy to absorb, and he doesn't really understand it until after Grandad's death. Listening to the eloquent silence of the woods, he can finally hear the trees praying, and as he joins in, "for the first time in a long time, the world seemed just right." This is a beautiful book that is truly religious without being an advocate of any one religion. I highly recommend this book. 1999, Candlewick, $16.99. Ages 6 up.
(PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press (Cambridge Mass.:), PUBLISHED: 1999.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
The comfortable conversations between a boy and his grandfather become the springboard for exploring ideas about prayer in this poignant picture book. On their walks together in the woods, Grandad tells the boy that trees, rocks and streams pray, as sure as people do: "The tall grass prays as it waves its arms beneath the sky, and flowers pray as they breathe their sweetness into the air." The boy listens hard to hear the natural world's prayers, but never quite hears them. Later, as he grieves the death of his grandfather, the slightly older boy comes to understand Grandad's message--in a delicately handled epiphany, he seems to grasp that letting one's God-given beauty shine, and finding the beauty in others and in the world, is a prayer in itself. Readers may well draw other interpretations, but, in any case, will likely view the idea of prayer in a new light. Wood's (Old Turtle) reassuring tone and pleasing imagery serve as a framework for the powerful love between grandparent and child that lies at the heart of this story. These solid elements help make a difficult religious concept somewhat more concrete for children. As Wood's text (wisely) offers no definitive answer to the boy's queries about prayer, it could easily serve as a starting point for family discussions. And perhaps best of all, readers are treated to a peaceful nature walk in Lynch's (The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey) soft, careful scenes of man and boy enjoying rushing streams, quiet twilight skies and brilliant green leaves and grasses glistening in the sun. Ages 6-up. (Oct.)
(PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press (Cambridge Mass.:), PUBLISHED: 1999.)

Breid Ryan (Children's Books In Ireland, Winter 1999 (No. 22))
As they walk together in the woods one day, a boy asks his grandfather about prayers. The old man is silent for a while, then he begins his answer with the question, 'Do you know, son, that trees pray?'. Every being in the world prays, Grandfather explains. A tree reaching towards heaven, water sparkling in the sunshine as it leaps and splashes over rocks, and a robin's last song at sunset are all different forms of prayer. When his grandfather dies the boy feels lost and lonely without him. His world is dark and empty until he hears the prayers of the earth and finds the words to make his own prayer of thanksgiving. This wonderfully poetic story celebrates the richness of life and love, and the inspirational and healing power of nature. PJ Lynch's beautiful illustrations draw the reader right into the heart of the story. Sunlight breaking through a canopy of leaves, a moss-covered rock, the glorious colours of a sunset and the luminous beauty of a snowy landscape are all brought vividly to life. As I turned the pages, I felt as if I too was part of the pictures. I could almost feel the tree bark beneath my fingers, and if I was perfectly still, perhaps I would hear the grasses rustling gently in the wind. A beautifully crafted, sensuous picture book. 1999, Walker, 10.99stg. Ages 5 to 8.
(PUBLISHER: Walker (London:), PUBLISHED: 1999.)

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
London: Walker, 1999

Media Type: Language Material
Cambridge Mass.: Candlewick Press, 1999

Media Type: Language Material
1 v. (unpaged):
PZ7.W84738 ([Fic])

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