This heartwarming book – an adaptation of one of Denver’s best-loved songs – is a lovely reminder of the good, pure things in life. It is the first in a series of picture-book adaptations of Denver’s songs, bringing his spirit, the message of sunshine and heartfelt, environmental themes to children and families everywhere. Complementing the simple but profound lyrics – “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy” – are delightful illustrations that portray a little girl and her father with a guitar playing in wildflower-filled meadows, enjoying each other’s company while a cat and a variety of cute wildlife creatures look on.
— Arizona Networking News (Oct./Nov. 2003)
Celebrate a beautiful summer day by singing this much loved John Denver song to your child while looking at the luminous pictures. The brilliant artwork will have you reaching for your sunglasses as you follow the little girl swinging, singing, and canoeing through the sunshine and flowers. Pay attention to the sweet cat who goes everywhere with her.
The gentle, loving words, written in gold-glit, seem to dance across the pages of this award-winning book. For the musically inclined, the score is printed inside the covers of the paperback edition. For the rest of us, the hardback edition features John Denver’’ song on an enclosed CD. At the back of the book is a tribute to the musician. The Nevada City publisher plans a series of picture book adaptations o John Denver’s songs. Based on this first one, no one could do it better.
— California Kids! (July 2004)
The well-known song by the late John Denver serves as the inspiration for this lovingly illustrated book. Illustrator Christopher Canyon’s soft and gentle paintings accompany the familiar words in clever ways. When looking at the words on the page, the reader is struck by their simplicity and sincerity in celebrating the joys of nature, which should resonate with children. The book includes a CD of Denver singing the song, along with the score.
— OC Family Magazine (August 2004)
With his adaptation of John Denver’s Sunshine On My Shoulders, Christopher Canyon draws upon the power of the late singer’s lyrics to create a picture book sure to delight preschoolers. As the words swirl exuberantly across the page, a little girl and her father enjoy a day together playing the guitar, blowing dandelion fluff and watching birds and bugs in a field of wildflowers. To borrow a phrase from the text, Canyon’s watercolors are “sure to make you smile.” The illustrations abound with light and color and include intricate renderings of Queen Anne’s lace, butterflies, ants and other flora and fauna. Little ones will have a great time following the antics of the girl’s pet mouse and cat in the pictures and identifying the many wild critters.
— Washington Parent (February 2004)
Christopher Canyon exuberantly illustrates the late singer-songwriter’s classic 1974 hit. Denver’s lyrics bounce around a fuzzy-brown-haired girl frolicking in a palette of golden yellows. Canyon’s paintings beam with the warmth of the sun.
— Mothering (April 2004)
Adapted and illustrated by Christopher Canyon, John Denver’s Sunshine On My Shoulders showcases the lyrics of John Denver’s classic popular song with exuberant color pictures for a reading and sharing experience that practically exudes sunshine from the brightly colored pages. This edition features an accompanying music CD to play and enjoy, in a remarkable and enthusiastically recommended tribute to a great musician that is also fun to read aloud to the little ones.
— Midwest Book Review (January 2004)
John Denver was among America’s most beloved singer/songwriters. His gentle songs and gorgeous voice touched the hearts of millions before a tragic airplane accident cut his life short in 1997. In this beautifully edited and illustrated picture book, Canyon captures the spirit of “Sunshine On My Shoulders” and its uplifting message, written by Denver in 1971, during the Vietnam War.
The pages unfold to reveal each line of the verse illustrated in sunshiny colors depicting scenes of animals, flowers, trees, and children enjoying the summertime, all leading to a final aerial view of the characters in a boat rowing through the lily pads: “Sunshine almost all the time makes me high.” Canyon’s interpretation sets a mood of joyful introspection, and the characters he draws are engaging as they immerse themselves in their own little drama. Children will enjoy telling their versions of the tale based on Canyon’s portrayal.
The last pages are devoted to a short biography of Denver, as well as sheet music for piano and guitar. The CD that accompanies this work is a reissue of Denver’s original release.
Inspirational, soothing, and hopeful, this package is appropriate as a bedtime story or simply for sharing time. Cuddle up!
— Dirty Linen (February/March 2004)
This picture book adaptation of John Denver’s famous 1971 hit, “Sunshine on My Shoulders,” artfully recaptures the ’70s era illustration stylings and attitude. It serves as a picturesque reminder of the joy of the simple things in life-beautiful days, good friends, and big smiles. Adults will enjoy humming along as they read to their children, who will enjoy the whimsical-and somewhat cathartic-illustrations. This is the first of a series of picture book adaptations of John Denver’s songs meant to inspire children to find the simple joys in life.
— Children’s Literature (December 2003)
John Denver’s Sunshine On My Shoulders is adapted from John Denver’s well-loved song “Sunshine on my Shoulders,” with beautiful and colorful Illustrations to follow along with the timeless lyrics. Here is what my daughters had to say:
“The book is happy. I loved it. Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. Sunshine on the water looks so lovely. Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry. Wait! Eyes come first before water. [starts song all over again] Sunshine always makes me high. I liked the pictures of the little girl. She was on the swing going high! She had pretty flowers.”
“I like it. Sunshine, flowers – look at all the ants! There’s a birdie! She’s swinging by water. There is a bee! She’s singing. She’s playing like papa (guitar)! She’s happy. She’s cryin.”
“John Denver’s Sunshine On My Shoulders was a cute adaption of John Denver’s song. My girls really enjoyed reading it with their Papa (grandfather) as well as with me because my father can play the song on his guitar. Both girls enjoyed the book although there is not much to it in regards to words. The book repeats the same lyrics twice with illustrations to go along. The illustrations make this book! It brings the life of the song to the reader and my children really connected to the illustrations. I chose to give this book 3 stars because it is not long and is very simple in regards to the wording. While my children like to read it is not a go to book for them due to the repetition. More often than not my two-year-old will just look at the pictures which were a wonderful part of this book. I felt the book was average, a good book if you would like to teach your children about the simple beauty in nature. It is not good for story telling or imagination.
— Kid’s Reader Views – Madison (age 4) and Hailey (age 2) Schlarman and Mom (October 2010)
A story in which a daughter shares a very special day with her father. Complementing the simple but profound lyrics – “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy” – are delightful illustrations, which makes a compelling new presentation of a great song. Only John Denver could put into words the greatest gift you could give your child, “If I had a day that I could give you, I’d give to you a day just like today”?
Beautiful thoughts are accompanied by pages overflowing with flowers, birds, smiles and songs. A bonus for your little one is a CD of Denver’s recording that allows you to sing along as you read along.
— Ventura County Parent (November 2003)
It just makes sense – John Denver and kids!
— Vince Gill – Award-winning recording artist (Febrary 2003)
The three Board Books (Sunshine On My Shoulders, Over in the Ocean In a Coral Reef & A Swim Through the Sea) are wonderful and a great addition to the genre. The colorful illustrations seem even more bright and bold than in the full sized books and create an excitement that will make readers want to return to them again and again. I have wanted to include a Board Book category in the Read In for several years, but have not yet done so because the quality varied so widely and I really couldn’t come up with enough titles of truly excellent books published in one year. Maybe this will be the year! I look forward to more Board Books from Dawn.
— Learning Explorations – Barbara Geiger (June 2006)