Picture Book: Grace For An Island Meal


Picture Book: Grace For An Island Meal


By Rachel Field Illustrated By Cynthia Jabar

  • Age Range: 3 - 6 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 1
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374327599
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374327590



PreSchool-Grade 2 Jabar depicts a picnic on a Maine island in this illustrated version of Field's early-20th-century poem, resulting in a colorful book about simple treasures: family, friends, food, and natural beauty. The text offers thanks for the bounty that has been provided: Bless this board and bless this bread./Bless the skylight overhead…./Bless these chanterelles that grew/in secret under mossy bough./Bless the Island-pastured cow/for her milk which we now pour./Bless these berries from the shore. The light, cheery illustrations evoke an idyllic day spent exploring and enjoying the wonders of this unique environment. The intense blues of the ocean are particularly striking in contrast to the earthy browns and vibrant greens of the island. The poem seems a bit slight, but the book, as a whole, is a lovely interlude. Combine this offering with tales by Robert McCloskey for a pleasant Maine getaway, or with Deborah Hopkinson's Birdie's Lighthouse (S & S, 1997) for stories about Abbie Burgess that show the working side of Maine coastal life. Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME
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PreS-Gr. 1. The rhymed couplets of Field's poem bless a meal that a child on a Maine island might experience. Using the verse as text for a picture book, Jabar takes the order of things blessed, including bread, chanterelles, a cow, berries, and a china cup, and creates a larger, unspoken framework story told through inviting illustrations: a woman and two children take a boat to an island where another child meets them and leads them to her home. Warmly greeted by her family, the visitors enjoy supper outdoors before leaving. In the evocative opening scenes, Jabar creates a tangible sense of sea, sun, and wind. Later, the sunlit paintings focus more closely on the children as they enjoy active play, occasional minor mishaps, and, in the final pictures, the warmth of affection all around them. Enlarging upon the poem, which was first published in the 1920s, this picture book offers a series of island scenes engaging enough to make inland children long for a place they never knew. Carolyn Phelan

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