All the World
by Liz Garton Scanlon, illus. by Marla Frazee
The children in your life can easily imagine themselves in the beach scenes described and pictured here. The oversize pages will inspire children to open the book and lie on their bellies to get a closer look. As the book begins, a boy and girl collect rocks (“Rock, stone, pebble, sand”) and build castles in the sand (“Body, shoulder; arm, hand/ A moat to dig”). These activities unfold as miniature scenes between the children—who look alike enough to be siblings—and the two adults present. In a slightly larger picture, the girl gives her mother “a shell to keep” as her father holds a towel nearby and the boy inspects their impressive sand castle. But with a turn of the page, the intimate exchanges between these four open to a large full-spread panoramic view of an ocean peninsula: “All the world is wide and deep.” As the four drive away in a red pick-up truck, we spy a couple carrying a picnic basket in the background, and another family nestled in a cove by a yellow house. In the distance, we see a group of white tents—the setting for the next group of characters—beekeepers and farmers (“Hive, bee, wings, hum/ Husk, cob, corn, yum!/ Tomato blossom, fruit so red”). They display the fruits of their labors under the tents (“All the world’s a garden bed”). Eagle-eye youngsters will notice the red pick-up parked nearby and the mother and child near some flowers for sale. The details of the poem and the close-up scenes in the pictures continue to alternate with larger paintings on bigger themes. As the day winds to a close, the community gathers for music making (and “Babies [are] passed from neck to knee”). The children who made the sand castle snuggle with pillows in their PJs. “Hope and peace and love and trust/ All the world is all of us” appears with the closing image of the girl from the opening beach scene. She brings us full circle, her closed hands concealing that single shell that contains within it the sound of an ocean.