The Lively Garden Prayer Book by William Cleary is the perfect book to have in hand during the summer. For this poet and composer, prayer is a light-hearted, imaginative, and gladsome exercise where we see, touch, hear, smell, and taste the "Green Spirit God" in the backyard. Cleary glides into the garden and takes the side and perspective of the vegetables, flowers, and creatures who reside there. The broccoli's blessing is one prayer poem in a series from A (Acorn) to Z (Zucchini): "What a thrill, Creating God/To exist a bright green flower/In a multicultural garden/Where diversity is power."

Not only plants sing their praises to the Great God of Sky and Earth — beetles, dogs, cats, worms, and aphids do too. There's even room in Cleary's backyard theology for poison ivy, tics, weeds, sex, dung, and "the maggot's magnificat." And to top it all off, the author includes lots of little tips for gardeners such as depositing human hair in your compost heap! William Cleary is a spiritually literate mentor who makes everyday spirituality into an occasion for prayer, gratitude, love, creativity, and liberation. Bravo!