The Naming

Margaret Greaves, Author, Pauline Baynes, Author, Pauline Baynes, Illustrator Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-15-200534-4
Based loosely on the Old Testament mention of Adam naming the creatures of the earth, this biblically themed picture book surprises somewhat with the unexpected appearance of a unicorn at its conclusion. Shades of Noah, the animals appear two by two before Adam (discreetly if somewhat unusually clothed in a multicolored, calf-length skirt of leaves), who blesses them and bestows occasionally fulsome explanations for his choice of name (``Rabbit is furriness, Rabbit is the joy of spring mornings, Rabbit is shyness, Rabbit can read the wind''). Greaves's smooth prose possesses the dignified cadence of myth, and at times becomes rhapsodic--her description of the unicorn (``You are the secret beauty that haunts all dreams'') will thrill fans of that legendary beast. (In her composition and vocabulary, however--``vexation,'' ``meteor,'' ``timidity''--Greaves may stretch the understanding of the book's intended audience.) Baynes, whose lush, meticulous illustrations were inspired by an ancient Rajput manuscript, presents Eden's splendor as a subtropical landscape blooming with a bright profusion of trees, flowers and--of course--animals of every persuasion. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1993
Release date: 03/01/1993
Genre: Children's
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