Sunday, December 8, 2013

30 Days of Picture Books - What a Wonderful World, illustrated by Ashley Bryan

It's Day 30 in our 30 Days of Picture Books. We made it! Can't believe how quickly that 30 days -- and 30 books -- zipped by. At the beginning of the project I always feel as if I'll never have enough selections to fill up 30 days, and then by the end I'm compiling a list of titles for next year's picks. I hope you've enjoyed reading along with us as much as we've enjoyed sharing these books with you. The research is tough, but someone's got to do it! :)

Tonight we're sharing a pick that seems to sum up the feeling we have at this time of the year, when thoughts turn to giving and sharing, and being grateful for all the blessings we've been given. Ashley Bryan's What a Wonderful World distills those thoughts nicely, using the classic lyrics by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele. Kids and parents alike will recognize this song, made famous by Louis Armstrong, just from the title alone. Sprout can't stand for us to read the words of this one -- we have to sing it, which is just fine by me.

Bryan's version has been around for quite some time, and it stands out as an example of how vivid illustrations can breathe new life into a familiar theme, or in this case song. Bryan brings his signature multicultural perspective to this work, weaving together people of various ethnicities through the storyline of a group of children putting on a puppet show. Louis Armstrong makes a cameo appearance, even working the puppet version of himself in the finale, where all the children gather to sing the last line of the song. It's a fantastic example of diversity, in which each individual is distinct but together makes a beautiful panorama.

Pick up What a Wonderful World at your library or bookstore, and share this one with a child this holiday season. It's an easy read that's impactful both in image and meaning, and one that reinforces the message we always try to send -- that the difference and variety between people, all people, is what makes this indeed a wonderful world.

What a Wonderful World, illustrated by Ashley Bryan, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers


Ms. Valerie said...

As I'm sure he told you - I read or sing this book and the kids love it! It's definitely one of my favorites! Thank you for sharing it!

Ms. Valerie said...

One of my favorite books and I love to sing it to the kids!

PragmaticMom said...

I have really enjoyed your 30 days of picture books! Thanks so much for doing this series. Each book you picked was a wonderful find for me! I know it was a TON of work and it is much appreciated. I have pinned each one to my board!