A Calming and Reassuring Read-Aloud

Age: 0-23-5

10.08.15 • 6:43 am EDT | 0 responses |

Day is Done

Peter Yarrow; illustrated by Melissa Sweet


When I picked this up, the picture book title immediately brought up a soundtrack of life in the 60’s, with these familiar opening words:



Tell me why youre crying, my son.


    I know youre frightened like everyone



If you’re of a certain age, the thrum of that song, has a sweetly calming feel, brought on by the mellow tenor of Peter Yarrow, plus the added harmonies of Paul Stookey and Mary Travers; widely known as the folk group, “Peter Paul and Mary”.

The song has been illustrated to picture book perfection by Caldecott Honor Book illustrator, Melissa Sweet.

The song’s words are paced and slow as animal parents, including bears, hares, deer, birds, raccoons, mice, foxes, and a host of other woodland denizens, reassure their young ones with these words:



  And if you take my hand, my son,


         All will be well when the day is done.


The cover flap terms it a “meditation on the environment and the kinship of all living creatures….”

Its soothing tempo and softly subdued illustrations, plus an accompanying CD containing within, a new rerecording of the original. Peter Yarrow’s daughter, Bethany, joining her father on harmonies, adds to the generational feel that reflects the intimacy of the song and its words.

And the song does, in its lyrics, ask some pretty existential questions that parents may be asked over time from young ones, such as:



             In a world filled with sorrow and woe,


  If you ask me why, why is this so?


 I really dont know.



Yet, the song and picture book never let it end on a down note, because the continued refrain says it all.



 But, if you take my hand my son


All will be well when the day is done.



That But“ at the beginning of the refrain is a pretty big statement. It serves as a reminder to young readers of the essential healing quality of “connectedness” on so many levels.

And this is a perfect bedtime book to bring the energy and stress levels way down for reader and listener both.

Why not introduce a new generation of picture book readers to Peter Yarrow’s timeless song and message in “Day is Done,” for a world sorely in need of some calming and reassuring words?

You may just find yourself singing to a small child, as they listen and learn the words and its message, too!



            Tell me why youre smiling, my son


            Is there a secret you can tell everyone?


             Do you know more than those that are wise?


             Can you see what we all disguise


            through your loving eyes?



Let’s hope our children do, with picture books like these, to help their journey.



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