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THE STORY OF US by Mitali Perkins


by Mitali Perkins ; illustrated by Kevin Howdeshell & Kristen Howdeshell

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-5064-8284-2
Publisher: Beaming Books

The biblical story, from Creation through the Resurrection and beyond, summarized.

Focusing on the four elements, aka Them, Perkins begins with Creation: “One day, Creator came— / to sort the mess, / using Them to make Us. / Air. / Water. / Earth. / Fire.” Several spreads of the first man and woman enjoying the Garden of Eden and its flora and fauna follow. But then, “We said, ‘No, Creator,’ ” after which They also rose up against the couple: “Tornado. / Flood. / Earthquake. / Inferno.” Thus begins a war between nature and humans…until Redeemer comes, “using Them to serve Us.” The next spreads show Jesus’ ministry, using dirt to heal a blind man, water to wash feet, air to draw a last breath on the cross, and fire to cook fish for his friends after his resurrection. A final page, requiring a 90-degree turn of the book, shows an idyllic scene of people of various races and ages enjoying a park: “At peace— / Them and Us,” a rather misleading statement amid today’s natural disasters, climate change, and pollution that many children will recognize as patently facile and false. The illustrations by the Howdeshells, a married couple, are beautiful and full of meaning that partially fills in the vital missing pieces that Perkins’ spares verse leaves out. Still, those without a solid religious background will be lost. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roots the Bible in the four elements; the sparse text and overly simplistic ending disappoint, but the images save the day.

(Religious picture book. 7-10)