A brightly illustrated allegorical retelling of biblical creation, presented with a naturalist’s whimsy.
Freeman’s debut amounts to more than an imaginative retelling of the beginning of the book of Genesis. At first, it offers a fanciful story about a female God observing the universe, shaping planets and time; then it becomes a tale of a lonely deity eager to share her creations with others. It chronicles the advent of landscapes, plants and animals. God eventually settles on humans as the perfect model of herself, as their upright walking symbolically bridges the physical gap between heaven and earth. As expected, she gives mankind the gift of free will, thus gracing it with the ability to love freely. (In an odd twist for a book that aims to link creationism and naturalism, the story briefly mentions fantasy creatures such as unicorns, fairies and elves.) Despite its quirkiness and serious message, the book’s main strength rests in its coupling of lighthearted poetry with splashy artwork. The acrylic and watercolor illustrations complement each stanza in bright primary colors, exemplifying the illustrator’s eye for movement and color. The volume’s final lesson rests on the premise that “man’s magical eyes / have grown dimmer and dimmer, / ’til he sees only the surface and fails to remember / that his true nature is Light.” In essence, the book seems to say, fame, power and personal wealth mean nothing because they come between people, and harmonious living is the true meaning of life. Given the overall gentle tone of the work, the oft-used sentiment is hardly shocking. Although the work may be intended as a ruminative adult piece, it may find the perfect audience as a children’s book that bridges the gap between biblical creation and the natural world. As such, it could open the eyes of readers less familiar with the beliefs with which adults live daily.
Gorgeous illustrations elevate this familiar attempt to reconcile science, religion and mysticism.