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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Younger audiences may be mostly interested in the bonking and stinky parts, but the rudiments are at least in place for...

LIFT-THE-FLAP BIBLE STORIES FOR YOUNG CHILDREN

Ten tales from the Old and New Testaments, with plot points and lessons hidden beneath large, shaped flaps.

Higgins depicts Jesus as a bit larger than those around him but otherwise draws him and the rest of the cast—including angels—with similar-looking round heads, wide-open eyes, slightly crooked beards (on the men), and dark brown or olive skin. Cycling arbitrarily among various tenses, the abbreviated, sanitized, and informally retold episodes begin in “a garden” with the tree, most of Adam and Eve, and the “tricky serpent” who “will trick them” initially hidden beneath die-cut flaps. Lifting the largest reveals the disobedient first couple sporting flashy animal-skin togs and text that promises that “God had a plan to save people from sin.” After Noah boards the “crowded, noisy, and stinky” ark, Moses leads the escape from plague-ridden Egypt (“Frogs and locusts! Yucky sores and flies!”), and “David bonks Goliath.” God’s promise eventually bears fruit with the birth and select miracles of Jesus. In the climactic scene, three distant crosses hide beneath a flap that depicts Jerusalem, while behind a tomb in the foreground an angel literally fizzes with fireworks. Beneath a bush readers see Mary (Magdalen) weeping until the risen Jesus (beneath another bush) gives her a hug: “Go tell the disciples that I am alive!”

Younger audiences may be mostly interested in the bonking and stinky parts, but the rudiments are at least in place for homiletic discussion. (Novelty/religion. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5064-4684-4

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Beaming Books

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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