Written and compiled by parishioner Anne Sandall, illustrated by Diane Sandall
Denise Walker, Reviewer & Parishioner
Small Graces is one of those beautiful books for children which is finely crafted in every aspect. The prayers within are a pleasant mixture of old and new, so short and simple that every word shines. The beautiful linocuts partner the simplicity of the prayers with their own pure lines.
Anne Sandall cast her net wide for the prayers she chose to include in this book: from Iona to Africa, from Robert Burns to the Psalms, and many labelled simply "traditional" or "unknown," reminding the reader that the best prayers become so familiar that their original prayer is often forgotten. There’s a beautiful prayer from Bishop Alpha Mohamed of Tanzania, well-known to the parishioners of Grace Church. The prayers which Anne herself has written and interspersed with the rest are indeed "graceful." All are arranged in sections for daybreak, noon, evening, and day’s end.
The loving labor of mother and daughter is evident in the small details of the book. The layout is peaceful, with plenty of space around each prayer on the page. The fonts (Carmina for the text, Bucephalus for the headings) are curvaceous and interesting without being so intricate as to make reading difficult. The colors of the cover, end papers, and linocuts are deep and rich.
The book includes a bibliography listing Anne’s sources for the prayers she compiled, as well as an index of prayers by first line. There are also blank pages for the reader to add his or her own personal or favorite prayers. As an added treat at the very end, the book includes a page of photographs showing the process of creating the linocuts.
Anne and Diane Sandall have also prepared a smaller, paperback edition of Small Graces in Swahili, with the help of Bishop Mohamed and his family in the translation. As well, they have created a selection of note cards bearing lines from some of the prayers and smaller linocuts. (Solsidan House, 2004 * www.solsidanhouse.com) [www.smallgracesbook.com]