CREATION

Decades of turning myth into gorgeously imaged picture books culminates in McDermott’s powerful rendering of the creation story. He boldly speaks in the voice of the Creator: “I was before time. I was everywhere. . . . Then I breathed light into the dark.” The drumbeat of creation goes on, dividing the mists “sweet and salt” and bringing the earth out of the sea, lights in the heavens to mark the seasons, birds and fish, animals moving over the earth, and man and woman. The language, rooted not only in Genesis of the Hebrew Bible but in a muscular familiarity with many other creation myths, thunders and rolls in perfect counterpoint to the astonishing images. Inspired, he says in an author’s note, by Japanese hand-made mulberry-bark papers, he uses gesso, fabric, and paint to create strongly textured surfaces both beautifully abstract and utterly concrete. The sun fills a page and spills over to the next; the blue moon is surrounded by a halo of stars; below both, an arc of growing things from palm frond to frozen branch marks the turn of time. Accessible to small children but resonant enough for older ones, reverent and magnificent. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-525-46905-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2003

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SAINT VALENTINE

The most interesting feature of this retelling of a story about a saint martyred in A.D. 270 is the art, a meticulous re- creation of the medium of its subject's period. Using thousands of tiny, rectangular pieces resembling tiles, Sabuda replicates the effect of Roman mosaics. His simple designs and harmonious, gently muted colors are pleasing, and he achieves surprising subtleties of expression, considering the intractability of the medium. Actually, the illustrations work even better from a slight distance (as with a group), so that the demarcations between the tiny pieces are less predominant. The technique, which tends to congeal the action, makes relatively undramatic illustrations; still, it's a fascinating experiment that brings the ancient world to life by paying tribute to its art rather than by picturing it in a modern style. The straightforward narrative centers on Valentine as a physician whose ointment restores the sight of a jailer's blind daughter, long the saint's friend. It's implied that the long-awaited cure takes place at the moment of his offstage death; the story ends with the joy of the child's renewed vision. An unusual and attractive rendition. Historical note. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-689-31762-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1992

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Girls will hear the answer to the titular question.

HOW MUCH IS A LITTLE GIRL WORTH?

Teaching our daughters how to love themselves is the first step toward the next generation’s owning its power.

It’s heady stuff for a picture book, but it’s never too soon for a woman—even a little woman—to know her worth. Denhollander (the first of sex offender Larry Nassar’s abuse victims to speak out) presents a poetic discourse that resonates beyond its young intended audience. Her simple rhyming couplets speak to the power of image and the messages that shape how we become who we are. The eloquence comes not from the words or phrasing as much as the message as well as the passion. Denhollander, an attorney, a mother, and a former gymnast–turned-coach for a time, delivers stanzas infused with sweet sentimentality as well as fiery fierceness. New artist Huff provides lovely, expressive illustrations depicting girls of many racial presentations in various stages of self-discovery and acceptance. The figures are smiling and cartoonlike, with oversized, round heads and sturdy bodies—though none could be called fat, none exhibits twiglike proportions. Denhollander’s book is unapologetically Christian in approach, with more than one reference to “Him” or a creation by a greater power. With sincerity helping to mitigate occasionally artless text, this is a worthwhile message for young girls who, in an age of shrinking women’s rights, need all the encouragement possible to find their voices and love themselves.

Girls will hear the answer to the titular question. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4964-4168-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tyndale House

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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