Psalm 136 stands on its own merit. It needs no extraneous efforts to prop it up. Just read this chapter. Read it aloud. In exalted language the psalm rehearses a litany of God’s wonders to Israel and his covenant care of his people. What is most memorable is the refrain (repeated 26 times!): “For his mercy endureth forever.” Above all, Psalm 136 is a psalm to be sung, and new RFPA illustrator, Kathleen DeJong, does not overlook this important aspect in her artistic renderings. The opening page of His Mercy Endureth Forever includes enhanced line drawings of ancient musical instruments, and the book closes with a musical score from Psalm 136.
Although nothing can add to this psalm, in this most recent publication by the RFPA Kathleen DeJong responds to Psalm 136 with full-paged acrylic illustrations and delicate line drawings.
Kathleen showed artistic ability already in first grade; her elementary drawings were unusually winsome. I remember especially a crayon-colored picture of a sky at night to depict a poem she had learned. Interestingly, many years later, Kathleen DeJong’s vibrant painting of a nighttime sky (Psalm 136:5) becomes the cover of His Mercy Endureth Forever.
In this delightful new book for children, Kathleen displays not only her development in art, but also her spiritual maturity in understanding this magnificent psalm. She speaks with brush and palette of God’s goodness in creation and salvation. She insightfully captures past revelations without neglecting present realities.
The RFPA is to be commended for the quality and simple beauty of this volume. The cover invites one in; the individual pages are glossy and uncluttered; the print is clean, each word of the text distinct. Here is a book to be enjoyed by adults and profitably read to young children again and again. Children seem to love repetition in stories. How eagerly, then, a child will repeat the comforting chorus of each verse of Psalm 136: “For his mercy endureth forever.”
Mary Beth Lubbers