This review sent me down memory lane to childhood. I read a lot of picture books back then so it felt like I was reconnecting with a part of myself I had forgotten about. Today’s review is of Simon Godsell’s “Everything” which you may have correctly guessed is a children’s picture book. I don’t think we’ve ever reviewed anything quite like this.
This book is a very simple read despite there being quite a few pages for a children’s book (just under 50 pages). That being said, some of the words used are longer, so I would recommend this book for children that have been reading for a while. I think children that have only started learning to read will struggle a bit, so perhaps this is a book best read with an adult at least the first time around. The book conveys the central theme of how everything is a result of God’s work in a way that I think children can grasp, so I think the book is also a good option for people that wish to read aloud to children. In this way this book can also be suitable for children that can understand English but not yet read. There are also mentions of dinosaurs and outer space which are topics that often capture the imagination and interest of children. For this reason, “Everything” a nice way to connect what a child is interested in to something important that they may not otherwise think much of.
This book reads like poetry to me. There is some rhyming, juxtaposition and repetition of both sounds and whole words. The poetic aspect of the way the book was written makes it really satisfying for me to read. This use of literary devices prevents the book from being a dry read, particularly because there really is no plot to this book.
I find the illustrations really cute and appropriate for a children’s book. The art style is very simple without taking away from what is being depicted; I don’t find myself doing any guessing as to what it is I am looking at. I also think the simplicity of the style creates a sense of approachability for children. My inner amateur artist also thinks that this more (for lack of better word) abstract style can help expose children to art that is not classical/realist art. This is important to me – as beautiful classical/realist art is, there is not one “right” kind of art and I think we risk stifling children’s creativity by limiting the kind of art they see.
Overall, I would recommend Godsell’s “Everything” if you saw a sneak peak of it, are curious, and like the message behind the book. If you would like to purchase your own copy you can do so here.
Learn more about Simon Godsell’s work here.
Some words from The Catholic Man (updated May 15, 2022): Thanks, Ivy, for delivering a review that considered a number of unique aspects of this beautiful children’s book by Simon Godsell. Before reading the description of the book, I realized the book was inspired by the hymn, All Things Bright and Beautiful by Cecil Frances Alexander, which speaks to the beauty and diversity of God’s creation. I remember being taught the hymn in music class in elementary school. The beauty of God’s creation and appreciation for this gift in this “common home” is what Pope Francis emphasizes in Laudato Si’. Everything by Godsell is a step to introduce children to the message of Laudato Si’, I think. This is an approachable, very child-friendly text and illustration that allows children to be aware of the work of God the Creator. Thank you, Mr. Godsell for allowing my sister and I opportunity to review this beautiful children’s book of yours.
To close, presenting a rendition of All Things Bright and Beautiful:
Disclaimer: The Catholic Man Reviews was provided a review copy of “Everything” to provide an honest review of it on this blog. The Catholic Man Reviews thanks Simon Godsell for the opportunity for us to review this title on our blog and look forward to future reviews. All thoughts and opinions expressed in here are our own and reflect our sincere thoughts about the title.