Saturday, April 10, 2010

God Went to Beauty School by Cynthia Rylant

This mini novel as poem is a quick sweet read.  Rylant imagines a God who is so curious, he decides to go out and experience the world and the beings in it that he has created.  What he discovers are not only the wonders of this world, but the pain as well.  So what we get is glimpses of every day experience that are reflective, humorous, and spiritual.

Rylant has written more than 100 children's books and has received numerous awards and honors.  Her Henry and Mudge series and Mr. Putter and Tabby series are two favorite checkout items of the kids in my library. 

My favorite book of hers would have to be "When I was Young in the Mountains".  It was her first book, telling the story of the main character's youth in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia, and was based on Rylant's real life.  The book won a Caldecott Award for its illustrations (by Diane Goode).

I guess the reason it's my favorite is because my experiences in my early years on the farm with my grandparents were so similar to what she writes about in the book.  Her love of that place and those people showed so strongly on every page.  I shared that love for that simpler time, a time when you didn't want to be anywhere else on earth than where you were.  That was indeed enough.

There are glimpses of some of that same sweetness in "God Went to Beauty School".  Here's a quote from the book:

"But He saw this dog
out by the tracks
and it was hungry
and cold and lonely
And God realized
He'd made that dog somehow,
somehow He was responsible
though He knew logically
that He had only set the
world on its course.
He couldn't be blamed
for everything.
But He saw this dog
and He felt bad
so He took it on home
and named it Ernie
and now God
has somebody
keeping His feet warm at night."

If you smiled reading this, you should pick up this book. 

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