cover image Iblis


Shulamith Levey Oppenheim. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-15-238016-8

This harsh, Islamic version of the creation story could terrify the most recalcitrant child into obedience. With the complicity of the peacock, Iblis (Satan) bribes the serpent with promises of immortality, then hides between the serpent's teeth and thus sneaks into Paradise, where he tempts Eve to eat forbidden wheat. Adam succumbs, too. When God casts his creatures out of the Garden, Adam falls into Sri Lanka, Eve into Jeddah, ``and Iblis fell into the River Eila, which flows into Hell'' (Iblis is shown screaming as he falls into what appears to be molten lava). Young's abstract, nightmare-inducing chalk drawings, though unarguably skillful, magnify the horror--not the moral--of the story; indeed, the moral is obscured by the unyielding focus on Satan as protagonist. Ages 3-8. (Apr.)