Reviews for Let it Shine


Booklist Reviews 2006 November #2
The inspiring words of three well-known spirituals, "This Little Light of Mine," "Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In," and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," are matched with powerful construction-paper collage illustrations. Each double-page spread of this oversize picture book is an explosion of shapes and bright colors. Stocky figures, silhouetted against swirling colors are created from geometric shapes woven together. Rather than conceive a story to accompany the lyrics, Bryan presents series of scenes to reflect each set of lyrics. Children dance around with candles and march with saints; God holds a world of colored objects in his hands. The musical notation and lyrics for each song appear at the end of the book, as does a brief note from Bryan about the history of the spiritual and the changes he made in some of the lyrics. This will be hard to read without breaking into song. ((Reviewed November 15, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Fall
Using only cut-paper and clamorous, swirling, out-of-sight colors, Bryan sets three spirituals to pictures that are dynamic, monumental, and stirring. Throughout, the imagery is brilliant. Bryan has long been known for his exuberant decorative motifs, but in this instance, with three sets of lyrics that are themselves all imagery, his scope widens. With words and music appended: exciting, absorbing, immensely moving. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2007 #1
Using only cut-paper and clamorous, swirling, out-of-sight colors (lilacs and magentas, pale and deep and olive greens, tangerine and cafe au lait), Bryan sets three spirituals to pictures that might be projected across the back of a performance stage, they are that dynamic, that monumental and stirring. The selections are universal favorites, something Bryan emphasizes by making his figures -- children and adults of all shapes and sizes -- a mix of vibrant hues. In "This Little Light of Mine" the children of the world circle 'round with candles, flashlights, strings of lights. "Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In" presents a darkened Klee-esque city ("when the sun refuse to shine") where two lone figures turn on a single light; opposite, the absent sun is represented, eerily, by three thin concentric circles. Throughout, the imagery is brilliant. Bryan has long been known for his exuberant decorative motifs -- which explode here when "they crown Him Lord of Lords." But in this instance, with three sets of lyrics that themselves are all imagery, all metaphor, his scope widens. In the climactic "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," familiar, well-loved images emerge and spiral and surge across the pages, in a fusion of color and form, until the quiet, intimate touch at the close: the "little bitty baby" perched on a little finger. With words and music appended: exciting, absorbing, immensely moving. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2006 December #2
An extra-large trim size, a vibrant palette and Bryan's glorious cut-paper collage illustrations add up to a marvelous interpretation of three traditional African-American spirituals: "This Little Light of Mine," "Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." Intriguing endpapers show larger-than-life hands set against flowing stripes of color, with scissors and cut-paper shapes hinting at the arresting artistic style within. Children in silhouette are the main design element for the first two songs, with the final song illustrated with remarkable images of huge hands holding up different elements of the world. The volume's large size and brilliant colors make this a natural choice for a rousing sing-along with a group, and the musical notation for the songs is included. Incorporated into these final spreads with the music are concluding illustrations for every song, each focusing on a shining source of light. (author's note) (Nonfiction. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection - April/May 2007
Three spirituals, "This Little Light of Mine;" "Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In;" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands," are collected and illustrated by the Coretta Scott King award winner, Ashley Bryan, to create this lovely picture book. Each page contains two lines of lyrics and remarkable construction paper artwork. The combination of easy-to-read text and jump-off-the-page illustrations make it almost impossible not to sing while reading the book. In addition, Bryan gives new life to the spirituals by adding his personal note at the end explaining the significance of music and oral tradition to African Americans. He also states that some of the music has changed over the years with verses being added or deleted, and explains the power of the music and the importance of making it your own. The book is complete with sheet music for each song, making it a useful addition to students studying African-American culture and folklore, and public libraries. Recommended. Karen M. Smith, Young Adult Librarian, Allen Park (Michigan) Public Library © 2007 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 November #4

Bryan (Beautiful Blackbird ) again proves himself a maestro with scissors (depicted on the endpages) in a series of arresting, kaleidoscopic cut-construction-paper collages that interprets three beloved spirituals: "This Little Light of Mine," "When the Saints Go Marching In" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." Each page contains two lines of lyrics alongside images of nature or of children and adults with diverse skin tones frolicking harmoniously in settings both urban and pastoral. This wide spectrum of experiences suggests the songs' themes of utopian peace, tolerance and beauty. The hands appearing on the pages of "He's Got the Whole World..." convey a sense of power, reassurance and awe that evoke the wonders of God. An author's note describes a bit of the origin and history of Negro spirituals. Musical notations for each song are included at book's end. Ages 4-8. (Jan.)

[Page 54]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2007 January
PreS-Gr 5-Bryan's vibrant illustrations interpret and energize three beloved songs: "This Little Light of Mine," "Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In," and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." Although the artistic style is similar to that in All Night, All Day (Atheneum, 1991), here Bryan uses intricate cut-paper collages to accompany the lines of text at the bottom of the pages. Energy and movement course through many of the full-bleed illustrations, as when children-depicted in rainbow-colored silhouettes-use a boat, an airplane, a bicycle, and other means to carry their lights "Ev'ry where I go." At other times, the images offer comfort and security, as large multicolored hands embrace the world's wonders and "the little bitty baby" is cradled in an adult's protective arms. Simple melody lines and an explanation of the origin and importance of spirituals are appended. Yet, Bryan's illustrations demonstrate more than words the dynamic inspiration that these songs still provide. Readers will find themselves humming as they turn the pages.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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