All in a day by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Nikki McClure
I could not help thinking of Jonathan Bean when I took up this book. Nikki McClure's virtuoso cut-paper illustrations resemble woodcuts in much the same way his do, and she too can make a palette of black and white plus one color conjure whatever she wants. Here's the book: a little boy on a farm wanders through his day, climbing trees and watching clouds and whatnot, with measured, gentle text that conveys a peaceful message that you don't get all that often in picture books:
This day will soon be over
and it won't come back again.
So live it well, make it count,
fill it up with you.
The day's all yours, it's waiting now...
See what you can do.
This is maybe not the best quote - the book is not at all dire. I love the images too: chickens and eggs and seeds, birds on the wing. Kind of inspiring, and I'm not just saying that because the children and I planted our peas this week.