The human connection with nature is innate andÂ fleeting. To catch this connection–to catch this moment–philosophers tend to say, “Carpe Diem!” Seize the Day! This is the message Cynthia Rylant’s poetic story All in a Day embraces.Â Â All in a Day traces a day in the life of a child steward, as he tends to a garden and feeds farm animals. As a poem, Rylant’s story evokes vivid nature imagery sparking the imagination to take on the complexity of nature in the spring. Nikki McClure’s crisp, clear cut-paper art serves to tame the imagination. Her images use only two colors, blue and yellow, and use negative spaceÂ to remind us of the constructed duality between humans and nature; but her compositions, which may include three moments in time, uphold a unity between humans and nature. Similarly, Rylant’s poetry emphasizes the connection between humans and nature, reminding us that in an hour, in a day, in a season, “You can make a wish/and start again.” Each page is a work of art. Rylant’s lyrics, paired with McClure’s stunning cut-paper images, specifically the image of two large hands amongst a rural landscape, speaks to the simple, yet sometimes overlooked notion of our age-old connection to nature.
Having been inside all winter, this story reminds us of why nature is not cruel, but rather inevitable; not destructive but dynamic; and most of all, not alien but incredible! This story makes me feel so happy, and like the arrivalÂ of spring, it revives my heart. I recommend this book to any and everyone. All in a Day is a cold glass of water on a hot afternoon; it is refreshing, it is vibrant, and most of all, it is a wonderful expression of carpe diem. Seize the day!
Mary Smith is a freelance writer living on the West Side of Providence. When she is not writing she works at Kafe Lila making peanut butter sandwiches with honey orange-blossom filling.