An embroidered version of the etiological tale from the book of Genesis, with a multicultural cast.
In the cartoon illustrations two children—one pale-skinned and red-haired, her friend darker of both skin and hair—front a similarly varied population that shares “one beautiful language.” Having moved from an overcrowded valley to found a new city, all pitch in to build a tower tall enough to “hold up the sky and stay above the waters,” should another Great Flood come along. As the children eat tower cakes and put on tower hats and play tower games, the structure rises so high that the proud builders decide to make war on God and “take the heavens as their home.” (Except for the tower itself, all of this is invented detail.) God sighs in disappointment and sends angels down in the night. The next morning, “Joseph woke up as José,” “Rachel” as “Rachelle,” and all of the people and animals speak different languages, from Spanish or Chinese to Cow or Chick. Samples of each in appropriate script, with an identifying label and (for non-English) a translation, fill a crowd of dialogue balloons in the final scenes. Calling out variations on “Let’s go this way!” in Spanish, Urdu, Russian, Hebrew, and other tongues, the humbled folk gather into groups and disperse, leaving the still-standing tower behind.
Even with the additions, the story still feels bare-bones. (Picture book/religion. 5-7)