The pages of this board book offer colorful interpretations of each verse of the traditional song.
The pictures feature diverse groups of family and friends engaged in child-friendly activities such as camping, picnicking, and celebrating a birthday together. The rhyming text, which will be familiar to many caregivers raised in the United States, can be either sung or read: For those unfamiliar with the song, the words are rhythmic enough to be interesting to read even without a tune. With the possible exception of a final cityscape, landscapes are mostly European or North American, though one double-page spread celebrating nature includes a mishmash of tropical, savanna, and temperate woodland flora and fauna. The lyrics are italicized and featured prominently but are also strategically placed so as not to interfere with the illustrations. Starting from the first page, the human characters in the pictures representing the lyrics are diverse in terms of skin color, age, ability, religion, gender, and body type. The artist uses a vibrant but not overwhelming palette and soft brush strokes to infuse each illustration with a soothing, playful feeling and to fill the characters with movement, expression, and joy. The level of detail in each illustration allows adults and kids alike the opportunity to discover something new every time they look at it.
This sweet, gentle interpretation of an African American spiritual features a notably diverse cast. (Board book. 2-6)