From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 3-A nondenominational, nonsectarian retelling of the creation story that focuses on the period before man and woman were created. The animals tell God the gifts they would like to present to humankind. "The chimpanzee chattered, 'Let them always be curious.' The ostrich bent low. 'Let them mind their own business.'" After being told that humans will have dominion over them, the animals are frightened but God reassures them that people will care for the world and its inhabitants. There is no gender hierarchy; God is not referred to as either male or female, and both man and woman are created simultaneously. The vibrantly colored illustrations nearly leap off the page in this delightful interpretation.Yapha Nussbaum Mason, Brentwood Lower School, Los Angeles
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 4^-7. Students of the Bible have long pondered who, exactly, God meant when in Genesis he used the plural in speaking about humankind in "our" image. Swartz answers that question in a unique way. God was speaking to "ALL," including the animals, that he had created. Then, each of the animals comes up with one quality that it wants the humans to have: bravery, from the tiger; gentleness, from the lamb; speed, from the cheetah; slowness, from the snail; and so on. In the end, humans receive all their qualities from what has come before them, thus making them a true part of the larger natural world. The text is readily accessible to preschoolers, who will enjoy hearing all the animals declare and offer their special qualities; children will also instinctively receive Swartz's message about the world's interconnectedness. Extending and elaborating on the text are Hall's pictures, which are particularly nice. Inventive watercolors, dappled with sunlight and cloistered by moonlight, capture the feeling of life that is the essence of the story. One interesting note: When, near the book's conclusion, God says humankind will have dominion over the animals, the creatures are afraid. God assures them that "woman and man shall be partners with me to care for you and all the world." Even preschoolers can join in a stimulating discussion about whether humankind has lived up to its obligation. Ilene Cooper