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 (BYR); 1st edition (April 18, 2006)
  • 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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

You can buy my picture book here from Amazon.


Here's her wonderful poem inspired by the raw beauty of the Maine islands off the coast of Acadia National Park. It's absolutely gorgeous there. Go if you get a chance.

Grace For An Island Meal

Bless this board and bless this bread

Bless this skylight overhead,

through which any eye may see,

wheeling gull and blowing tree.

Bless this cloth of woven blue.

Bless these chanterelles that grew

in secret under mossy bough.

Bless the island pastured cow

for her milk which now we pour.

Bless these berries from the shore.

Bless every fresh laid egg and then

blessings on each island hen.

Bless this sweet smelling bowl of bay;

this tea from islands far away.

Bless spoon, and plate, and china cup,

the places set for us to sup

in sight of sky, in sound of sea

Bless old and young, bless You and Me.

- Rachel Field, Sutton Island, Maine