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Cover image for My father's house
My father's house

First edition.
New York : Viking, ©2007.
Physical Description:
1 volume : color illustrations ; 29 cm
An illustrated children's poem which thanks the Creator for the ocean, the tundra, the forests, and all the other parts of nature.
Added Author:


Call Number
811 Appelt

On Order



Oh my father, thank you,

for all your many mansions. . . .

From woodland halls to painted desert walls, from mountain porches wrapped in snow to rain forest attics catching clouds, this exquisitely beautiful poetic tribute to Earth’s creator is grand in its gratitude and sure of the love found throughout the natural world.

Filled with award-winning artist Raul Col n’s jewel-toned illustrations, My Father’s House imparts a refreshing and uplifting message that is necessary today more than ever. This is a book both to give and to treasure for years to come.

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-4-This poetic expression of praise for the many facets of nature springs from a familiar biblical passage attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of John. Here a child narrator introduces the metaphor: "Oh my Father, thank you,/For all your many mansions-/For the one you call the Ocean/With its salted silver spray-." She appears a bit later, kneeling on the prairie after leading readers through the tundra and woodland. These and several others regions are each described in a quatrain and painted scene. Col-n's full- and double-page scenes are lovely, textured folk-art renderings of animals common to each habitat. Some are busy, others striking in design. Golden lights in the appealing views suit the sweet tones of the poem. The concept of mansions may be elusive for some readers, but the appreciation of the natural world is clear. Phrased as a prayer or hymn of thanks, this book will be embraced by some families and is an attractive choice for Sunday school use.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

With the Bible verse John 14:2 as inspiration ("In my Father's house are many mansions") and a tip of the hat to Al Gore on the dedication page ("in gratitude for his service and commitment on behalf of our beautiful blue planet"), Appelt (Miss Lady Bird's Wildflowers) and Col?n (Do?a Flor) offer appreciation for the beauty and wonder of creation. The gentle text, written in four-line stanzas, is spot-on in its meter and occasionally imbues locations throughout the natural world with household analogues (mountains become "porches wrapped in snow/ Where black bears dine on cherries" and the tundra is imagined as a ballroom "filled with dancing northern lights"). Col?n's paintings beautifully convey a childlike reverence. Rendered in softly radiant hues and comfortingly rounded and curvilinear shapes, the images bring to mind vintage murals; fine, undulating lines, reminiscent of engraving, give the pictures dynamism and textural depth. Ultimately, text and artwork combine to make a soothing, spiritually resonant offering for environmentally conscious readers. Ages 4-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

Oh my Father, thank you, / For all your many mansions..."" The narrator thanks God for the diversity of nature on earth. The poetic text proceeds to list mountains, forests, oceans, and sky as worthy of appreciation. Colon's lovely textured paintings of animals in nature are well suited to the text--both are heartfelt but remote. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

A familiar Bible verse from the Book of John ("in my Father's house are many mansions") serves as the inspiration for this rhyming text expressing thanks for the wonders of the natural world. This traditional wording is followed throughout the text, with thanks offered to "the Father" without further reference to God. Successive verses describe the beauty and inhabitants of various environments: ocean, tundra, woodland, prairie, rain forest, marsh, desert, mountains and space. Some of the verses succeed as lovely descriptive poetry, but others have ending rhymes that don't quite work, particularly in the concluding verse. Children will need an adult's help to understand the symbolic meaning of "mansions" in this context, as well as explanation of a few metaphors, such as porches on mountains or painted kitchen walls in the desert environment. Expressive illustrations in colored pencil and watercolor use a technique mimicking scratchboard, which is attractively echoed in colored background surrounding the text blocks. Col¿n's illustrations include people of different ethnic groups and a flowing, surrealistic interpretation of planets, stars and imaginary mansions floating under a rainbow canopy. (Picture book/religion. 4-8) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Taking a cue from John 14:2--'In my Father's house are many mansions"--Appelt pays tribute not to God's heavenly creation but to the wonders here on Earth. Singsong quatrains express gratitude for the diversity and beauty of nature, including a variety of landscapes--prairie, marsh, desert, mountains--as well as the animals who inhabit them. The slant rhymes in several of the stanzas may cause some readers to stumble, but the ecological concern behind the poetry will speak to children. Though occasionally Colón's intrepretations of the text seem too literal, his paintings' rich textures and colors, often suggesting the stylized designs of stained glass, support the text's reverential, celebratory tone. Reminded of the splendor of Earth's biodiversity and the mysteries of the heavens, readers of many faiths will echo Appelt's heartfelt conclusion:  'Oh my Father, thank you / For all your many mansions . . . / I'll keep them fast inside my heart, / For this is what I know . . .  / That each and every mansion / Makes this planet we call Home."--Nolan, Abby Copyright 2007 Booklist