Marzollo, perhaps best known as the author of the I Spy books, debuts as an illustrator in the first of a planned eight-book Bible Story series, and her art has a quick-flowing, pleasing energy. Her storytelling plays to a young crowd. Daniel's envious co-workers say, "What gives him the right to be the boss of us?" and "Not fair!" and later persuade the king with the simplest flattery ("Oh, King Darius you are so-o-o great and so-o-o grand and so-o-o wonderful!"). Below the action, in a thin border, a line of ants (in Miriam
the border is populated by fish) offer more thoughtful commentary: as the king is tricked into ordering Daniel to be thrown into the lions' den, the ants' discussion includes "What if kings make bad laws?"—"That's a big problem." Miriam
brings girl power to the banks of the Nile, enhancing the heroine's already strong role in the saving of Moses and reminding readers that the pharaoh's daughter played a big role, too. Miriam also sings songs, which readers can join, to the tune of either "Hava Negila" or "You Are My Sunshine." While Marzollo doesn't always build a visual pace, she creates distinctive moments, as in the appearance of the angel in the den, a figure of surprising grace among three semi-comic but mostly scary roaring lions. Solid through and through. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)
The third in the series
, David and Goliath ($15.95 32p ages 4-8 ISBN 0-316-74138-8), is due in April.