Prayer for a Child

Prayer for a Child

by Rachel Field, Elizabeth Orton Jones (Illustrator)
Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks
Trade Paperback, 32 pages
List Price: $7.99 Sale Price: $6.79
Bless this milk and bless this bread
Bless this soft and waiting bed
Where I presently shall be
Wrapped in sweet security.

In 1939 Rachel Field adopted an eight-week-old girl named Hannah. Over the next three years, until Field's death in 1942, she would write three children's book dedicated to her new daughter. Prayer for a Child was one of these books. Elizabeth Orton Jones illustrated the poem in 1944 and it won the Caldecott medal the next year.

This very sweet poem is a true read-aloud bedtime story, reminiscent of a prayerful version of Goodnight Moon. The little girl asks God to bless the things and people around her, including the toys, the fire, the hands that care for her, and the children far and near.

Jones' illustrations are drawn in cozy yellow tones, with the chubby-faced, wide-eyed, eager little girl making her way through her bedtime blessings (and her 40's era house). The soft watercolor illustrations perfectly complement the poem.

The book's peaceful and religious nature was welcome in 1945, the year it won, just as WWII was winding down. While the Caldecott medal tends to be more conservative than its counterpart the Newberry medal, it's still doubtful that such a book would win today. While the theology behind blessing inanimate objects is a little trickier, the thankfulness and trust in Jesus is simple and childlike.

So let me sleep and let me wake
In peace and health , for Jesus' sake.
Amen

Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.

Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.
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Exodus Rating
FLAWS: Worldview
Summary: 1940's bedtime prayer asks God to bless people and objects.

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