Inspired by creation myths from around the globe, as well as visits to British environmental education center, the Eden Project, Ray (Noah's Ark; Fairy Tales) infuses her picture-book vision with a tone of openness and universality befitting a story that encompasses all the peoples and living things of the world. After God created a mist that watered the dusty, lifeless earth, He formed the first man "out of the clay of the newly watered earth," begins this tale. Adam and Eve live happily in Paradise among the luscious plants and aided and befriended by countless beasts. But their time in Eden is of course cut short by their defiance of God, set in motion by the serpent's temptation. The key elements here will be familiar to readers of many faiths and cultures. However, Ray's intricate and elegant paintings help set this volume apart. Trees blooming with precise green leaves and fragrant with ripe colored fruit serve as the perfect lush backdrop. Throughout, the artwork is accented with gold paint, carefully crafted borders and such collage-like components as maps and sheet music. Starry skies, rolling hillsides and playful animals further convey the initial serenity of the setting. God appears on several pages as a watchful eye, or pair of eyes, carefully monitoring the proceedings. Though some readers may object to Adam's and Eve's decorative body paint or one image that exposes Eve's naked breast, Ray's work embraces a sense of discovery and the lessons learned from disobeying God's word. Ages 5-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-In this lovely account of the creation, Ray celebrates the beauty of nature and humanity's connection to the Earth and all of its creatures. Adam and Eve live harmoniously with the animals that have been named by the first man, until Eve is tempted by the serpent. In rich prose, the author describes the garden in lyrical detail. The descriptive passages are complemented by exquisite illustrations that lend a mystical aura to the narrative. Although the peaceful existence in Eden is inevitably brought to an end, the well-known story culminates on a hopeful note, as the banished couple ventures out into the wider world on their own, much like all children throughout the ages have done, to begin a new life. Ray portrays God, depicted as an all-seeing eye in the sky, as a benevolent and concerned figure who still cares for his children although they have eaten the forbidden fruit. The expressive features of the two humans and their animal companions resonate with graceful dignity. Each beautiful painting is framed in a quiltlike, decorative border. This version of the familiar Old Testament story will have universal appeal.-Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
The Christian creation story is retold in simple but lyrical prose in this exquisitely illustrated interpretation full of swirling primeval ferns and stylized trees highlighted with touches of gold. God's presence in Eden is gracefully handled in the illustrations by showing just his hands as he creates Adam from clay or his watchful eyes as Adam and Eve tend the garden and meet the serpent. Ray's intriguing paintings reward the unhurried reader with subtle details and touches of humor; for example, a playful monkey sticking his finger into the end of Eve's wooden flute. Many of the spreads feature intricate borders that introduce additional elements such as the earth under the garden, subtly illustrating the renewal of the life cycle, and some of the borders also incorporate symbols of creation stories from other cultures. Children who delight in highly detailed illustrations will enjoy searching the lush views of Eden packed full of every sort of creature, right down to the earthworms crawling underground. (Nonfiction. 5-9)