cover image God's Gift

God's Gift

Jean Richards. Doubleday Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-385-31092-5

In a splendid parade of color and movement, this carefully designed picture book presents the story of creation. Opening pages depict the newly made world, all indigo shadows and emptiness. ``Wouldn't it be nice to share this beautiful creation?'' thinks God, and he forms Man out of clay and, one by one, animals large and small. An undercurrent of playfulness sweeps through the text as God molds each creature and Man chooses names. (`` `I will call it Lion!' `Lion it is!' agreed God.'' And later, `` `How exquisite,' said Man, `I think I shall name it butterdog.' '') Set against darkness, and shimmering with vivid color, each creature fairly quivers with newness. From elephant to butterfly, the creations are child-like and appealing in their naive clumsiness. By the end of the book, when Woman makes her appearance, a colorful collage has been built up, a cross between Eric Carle and Henri Matisse. A successful combination of a serious subject with lighthearted zest. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)