Let There Be Light

Desmond Tutu, Author, Nancy Tillman, Illustrator
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, illus. by Nancy Tillman. Zonderkidz, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-310-72785-9
Board Books - 30 pages - 978-0-310-73396-6
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-0-00-755258-0
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Drawing text from Tutu's 2010 Children of God Storybook Bible, Tillman (On the Night You Were Born) imagines a cosmos called into being by a humanlike entity suffused with lights and clouds. The illustrator's luminous, photorealistic style adds an intriguing edge to Tutu's friendly theology. When he writes that "the first flower opened in all its glory," Tillman zooms in on a daffodil with delicately veined petals and a cup filled with the almost blinding radiance of God; a reference to the creation of "cats and mice" on the sixth day inspires a painting of a lion and white mice that has the physicality of a museum diorama. As is often the case in books of this genre, the appearance of humans is something of a letdown: multicultural children are shown wearing glowing crowns and what appears to be a combination of native dress and Sunday School pageant costumes. Tutu is more original and eloquent: "I will make people, and I'll make them like me so they can enjoy the earth and take care of it." Ages 4–8. (Jan.)
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