Prather’s Pick: A Thanksgiving book with outstanding artwork
I found “Giving Thanks: Poems, Prayers, and Praise Songs of Thanks” on display in the children’s room at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries. The book is edited, with reflections, by Katherine Paterson. I think that the book would be enjoyed by readers of all ages.
The artwork in the book was done by Pamela Dalton. It is unusual but spectacular, indeed. According to a note at the end of the book, the illustrations were produced by an art paper technique known as “Scherenschnitte,” popular in early 19th century America.
Dalton has spent more than 25 years working with this “scissor cut” artwork. It has its roots in 16th century Germany and Switzerland and was brought to this country by Pennsylvania German settlers.
It’s difficult for me to describe the artwork; it kind of resembles the cut-outs made by cutting folded paper. (You will just have to check it out.) The paper cuts on the book’s pages are of root crops (such as radishes and carrots): animals (such as birds, rabbits and squirrels), humans, and more. The paper was antiqued in a coffee solution and ironed. Some watercolor illustrations “illuminate” the artwork.
The book is divided into sections with reflections by the author at the beginning of each. For example, there is “Gather Around the Table” with poetry, songs of thanks and works of praise that follow.
Authors of the book’s works include E.E.Cummings, Emily Dickinson, Albert Schweitzer, Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jr., and many others.
This is a great book to share with your family on Thanksgiving.
The author has an impressive list of honors, including the Newbery Award (for writing) and the National Book Award twice (each) and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for lasting contributions to children’s literature. Paterson has also served as National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
Pamela Dalton has also illustrated “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” and “The Story of Christmas.”
“Giving Thanks” is published by Handprint Books (2016). It costs $18.99 in hardcover. The book can also be found at the library.
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