The biblical story of Creation, seen through a theme of colors.
“In the beginning, there was nothing. No colors at all,” reads the first page, showing a dark gray, canvas-textured background; abstract black and gray cutouts sit in front of it while bits of dark blue peek out from behind it. The architect here is God, unseen and ungendered, spelled out in Christian/mainstream tradition (though the author’s note calls the day of rest “Shabbat,” a Jewish term). God’s creations are mapped onto colors: The spread about skies and oceans is blue while the one about trees and grasses is green. Some mappings, such as pinks for fishes, feel arbitrary. On the first day, when God “separate[s] the crisp, strong blacks / from the wintry, pale whites,” the cutout design resembles a web or net—but with sharp, nonrepeating shapes rather than geometrical repetition. Dim light illuminates the netting-shapes on the black page but doesn’t make them, as the text claims, “crisp.” On “day four” (sun, moon, stars), the low-saturation oranges aren’t “burning” as claimed—though the facing page does blaze thanks to yellows and unacknowledged red. God’s first two humans—unnamed and ungendered, one with medium-light orange-brown skin and short, straight hair, the other with very pale skin and long, loosely-curly brown hair tumbling downward—face demurely away from readers among vine-shaped cutouts.
The story calls for oomph and glory, but the illustrations don’t deliver. (author’s note) (Picture book/religion. 3-6)