Denver’s gentle lullaby comes to life in Canyon’s gorgeous paintings. It tells of a baby dolphin, which, in much the same way as a human baby, learns of many dolphin ways while it’s still in its mother’s uterus. When it’s born, it leaps about, tasting the air and racing the seagulls. Denver’s hope was that this dolphin baby would teach humans the song of the dolphins and tell them how to share the earth in harmony. Canyon’s work richly paints a portrait of the dolphin’s watery world, with stippled effects that evoke the sun shining through the water and the foam on the crest of a wave. Youngsters will even gain a better understanding of dolphin birth through the illustrations-one shows a baby dolphin curled up with an umbilical cord and another, the actual live birth from a spot just underneath and behind the mother’s dorsal fin. A better-than-usual effort in the trend of song illustration.
— Kirkus Reviews (September 2004)
Canyon’s love for Denver’s music is evident in the lush,romantic illustrations that accompany this dolphin lullaby. The idyllic ocean environment that welcomes the baby dolphin at its birth has mystical connections to the natural world as a whole. The page layout and visual images are striking. Readers will probably want to play the CD that accompanies the hardcover edition while viewing the pictures. Without music, the text seems convoluted and cloying at times and wouldn’t be easy to read aloud. Purchase as needed to satisfy requests from Denver fans, who will be the book’s most likely audience.
— School Library Journal
Deftly adapted and beautifully illustrated by Christopher Canyon, Ancient Rhymes: A Dolphin Lullaby showcases singer/songwriter John Denver?s song “Ancient Rhymes” which he composed in 1991 after the experience of swimming with dolphins. Also available in a hardcover edition which includes an accompanying CD and Score, Ancient Rhymes: A Dolphin Lullaby is confidently commended to the attention of school and community librarians and anyone of any age who admires John Denver?s music or who has ever wanted to swim with the dolphins themselves!
— Midwest Book Review
It just makes sense – John Denver and kids!
— Vince Gill
A serenely illustrated book that is perfect for bedtime reading, Ancient Rhymes is the second in the John Denver & Kids Book Series, along with Sunshine On My Shoulders. This book celebrates not only the birth of a dolphin, but of new life everywhere. John Denver was a champion of the environment and often swam with the dolphins – this particular lullaby was written after he and his then pregnant wife swam very closely to a female dolphin. The hard back version comes with a CD featuring John Denver performing the song, along with another short song titled “The Music Is You.” Future books in the series include Take Me Home Country Roads and Windsong.
— Cincinnatti Family Magazine – Sherry Hang (October 2004)
This beautiful dolphin book will help children to learn about them and also to learn the song. John Denver loved dolphins as they were not just intelligent animals, but a bit magical. In this book, John honors the birth of the dolphin and captures in song the promise of new life – both dolphin and human.
John Denver’s feelings came through his music and reverberated in hearts everywhere, making him one of the top selling vocal artists of all time. John was more than an entertainer. He believed that everyone can make a difference. He kept singing and writing songs until his death in 1997. Christopher Canyon has been deeply touched by John Denver’s music. John’s songs have always given him hope, joy and unbounded belief in possibilities.
— The Nashville News – Mary Barrett (March 25, 2009)
I liked Sunshine On My Shoulders a lot. I like this even better. I’m not sure how to describe my reaction to the illustrations – they convey a sense of mystery, awe, and anticipation of things to come. I kept running my fingers over parts of the pictures wanting to feel them – experience them more fully. Christopher Canyon’s illustrations are magnificent – certainly of Caldecott quality. I fully expect him to be a Caldecott winner sometime in the near future.
— Learning Explorations – Barbara Geiger, President (August 2004)
Christopher Canyon has done an extraordinary job of capturing the poetic beauty of Denver’s lyrics, which parallel the birth of a dolphin with the mystical splendor of all life.
I’ve read this story over and over. There’s something magical and indescribable about it. Its vibrant colors and flowing rhythm are truly touching.
The late John Denver was a nature enthusiast and humanitarian. His true love of the world comes shining through in this book. Upon reading it, my family and I raced to find the song so that we could hear Denver’s gentle and haunting voice share the lullaby with us.
Through this book, Dawn Publications has achieved its goal of “inspiring in children a deeper understanding and appreciation for all life on Earth.”
Recommended for ages 4 – 8, but is inspirational for all ages!
— The Kaboose Network – www.kidsdomain.com – Dwila Nixon (September 2004)
John Denver loved dolphins. They nurse their young. They love to touch. They are very talkative & to him, they were not just intelligent mammals, they were a bit magical – our evolutionary cousins of the sea.
Ancient Rhymes is a dreamy celebration of the color blue in which John captures in song the promise of a new life, & Christopher Canyon with his breathtakingly luminous illustrations has created a timeless & endearing lullaby you & your children’s children will treasure.
This is Christopher Canyon’s second in The John Denver & Kids Books Series: Sunshine On My Shoulders which is a joyful celebration of yellow.
— RebeccasReads.com – Rebecca Brown (July 2006)
Second in the series of “John Denver & Kids” books, Ancient Rhymes, a lavishly illustrated picture book, is an introduction for young children to the environmental themes explored by Denver in his music. The book features 36 pages of pictures by artist Christopher Canyon, and includes “Ancient Rhymes” on CD – soothing music for baby, and a great sing-along for older children.
The song and book celebrate the birth of a baby dolphin. Dolphins have a complex social system and a communicative language, and Denver believes that dolphin behavior is analogous to interactions between humans and their babies. Available September 2004, Ancient Rhymes is an experience that allows children to learn and grow alongside it.
— Genesee Valley Parent – Baby Guide 2004-2005 (August 2004)
This is a lovely illustrated picture book featuring John Denver’s song of the same title. It speaks to a young dolphin and what he can expect in his new world. It is ideal for both read along and sing alon g exercises. It is based on an experience John’s pregnant wife had swimming alongside a female dolphin, feeling a communication link had been established between two future mothers and their respective off-springs. We rated this book four hearts.
— Heartland Reviews (www.heartlandreviews.com) – Bob Spear (Oct./Dec. 2004)
In John Denver’s Ancient Rhymes: A Dolphin Lullaby, Christopher Canyon takes the lyrics of John Denver’s “Ancient Rhymes” and creates corresponding illustrations to help tell the tale of the dolphin.
“This was another song by the same guy who sang the ‘Country Roads’ song. I like the things he sings. This one was about dolphins. The pictures are in the ocean. There is a baby dolphin in the book. My favorite picture is the one where the dolphin’s mouth is open and he is singing. You can see his dolphin teeth.”
John Denver’s Ancient Rhymes: A Dolphin Lullaby is another great John Denver song changed into book form. His music translates wonderfully into children’s stories. We recommend this book to any John Denver fan, young or old.
— Kids Reader Views – Max Aures (age 4) and Mom (November 2010)