Oh, Earth Day is nearly upon us and in celebration thereof, Scholastic Storybook Treasures offers He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands…and More Stories to Celebrate the Environment. In all, there are seven stories included on this read-along DVD that encourages reading skills. As with other titles in this series, the read-along feature can be turned off, and is available on the featured stories ("He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands," "Come On, Rain!," "Giving Thanks," and "Owl Moon").
Instead of a saccharine, made-for-children rendition of the famous song, "He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands," singer Crystal Taliefero leads a group of children in a soulful, bluesy interpretation that is simply infectious. Accompanying the music is a slide show of illustrations from Kadir Nelson’s picture book, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.
"Come on, Rain!" is a tale about a little girl, a parching summer, and the hope for rain as told by Karen Hesse and illustrated by Jon J. Muth. Narrator Laila Ali brings life to Tess, the protagonist who is “sizzling like a hot potato.” The text is so evocative of summer, one can nearly feel the rays of the sun beating on bare shoulders. Muth’s watercolor illustrations are perfectly paired with a joyful story that celebrates some of life’s most simple pleasures. Jerry Dale McFadden’s musical score sounds ripped from the pages of a Randy Newman songbook: bright, bouncy, and a little honky-tonky. "Come on, Rain!" is a vividly descriptive story that manages to catch—and spread—good feeling.
"Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message," written and narrated by Chief Jake Stump and illustrated by Erwin Printup, Jr., is a message of peace and appreciation of Mother Earth and all her inhabitants. Told in two languages, English and Mohawk, "Giving Thanks" is a reminder of all earth offers and the role these gifts play in our lives.
"Owl Moon" details a father and daughter’s journey into the woods at night as they search for the Great Horned Owl. Written and narrated by Jane Yolen and illustrated by John Schoenherr, "Owl Moon" brings us deep into the woods when the snow is thick on the ground, the moon is high, and the air is frigid. Owls don’t always appear on such a night—or any other night; will one appear tonight?