Tag: psalm

Psalm 23 | Barry Moser

Of all the psalms, this one feels most familiar. This is the one I recite to myself when I can’t fall asleep, the one I’ve taught my daughters to recite to themselves when they can’t fall asleep, the one whose images are comforting in an unfluffy way: David talks about The Valley of Death, after all, so this psalm is assurance for very real suffering.

There are a number of good picture book versions of this psalm out there, but none that have made it onto this blog yet. I don’t know exactly why that is, but until now, I returned every one to the library without feeling the need to review it. Barry Moser’s version is different.

Psalm 23, by Barry Moser | Little Book, Big Story

By following a shepherd boy through his day’s work, Moser takes a fairly standard approach to illustrating this psalm, but instead of featuring a Sunday-school David in short bathrobe and sandals, Moser models his shepherd on a young Caribbean boy. Moser’s shepherd wears modern day clothes, squints into the sun, and tends his sheep gently as the text of the psalm follows him from scene to scene.

The Lord is my shepherd
I shall not want.

Putting these familiar words into a fresh setting made me listen closely as I read them to my daughters. It reminded me that the Lord is my shepherd, yes, but he is also their Shepherd. And your Shepherd. And the shepherd of the shepherds tending flocks near the equator. His gentle hand guides and comforts me in trial, but his reach extends even to islands in the Pacific, where the trees are laden not with prickly evergreen boughs but with slender palm leaves. His reach extends further even than that.

Psalm 23, by Barry Moser | Little Book, Big Story

The comfort of Psalm 23 runs deeper, then, when I realize that, though the flock of sheep he tends is vast, our Shepherd cares for us all. He knows not only my name, but yours too, and that of the boy Moser modeled his shepherd on.

That is, I think, why Moser’s Psalm 23 connected with me more deeply than any of the other versions I’ve read. His illustrations are light-filled and beautiful, and they present Psalm 23 as a psalm for all of us, no matter where we live or what we look like. He illuminates the goodness of our Shepherd through the picture of one faithful young boy.

Psalm 23, by Barry Moser | Little Book, Big Story

Speaking of Psalm 23 . . .

Did you hear that Sally Lloyd-Jones and Jago are working on a version as well? A happy dance here is perfectly appropriate.


Psalm 23
Barry Moser (2008)

Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise | Tomie de Paola

I’ll just say it: it’s hard to find good theological books for toddlers.

There are some awesome board book standards out there (most of them written by Sandra Boynton), but when it comes to Christian books for the under three set, the selection is lamentably sparse and regrettably prone to sticky sweet rhyme schemes.

Perhaps I am too critical. But when looking for books about God for an 18-month-old with an attention span three heartbeats long, I want meat. I want to cut right to the chase. (And I want awesome illustrations.)

Is that too much to ask?

Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise | Little Book, Big Story

Apparently, Tomie de Paola doesn’t think so. Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise is a beautiful book, short and to the point, based around verses culled from the book of Daniel and Psalm 148. There is a joy to the rhythm of the text, a passion to the illustrations, and a clear and perfect message for those busy little ones: “Hey, everybody! Praise God!”

If I have only three heartbeats in which to tell my child something, I want to tell her that: Praise God!

Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise | Little Book, Big Story


Let the Whole Earth Sing Praise
Tomie de Paola (2011)