cover image CREATION


Gerald McDermott, . . Dutton, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-46905-6

Caldecott Medalist McDermott (Arrow to the Sun) melds echoes of Genesis and other sources with his own poetic imagery for a lyrical, mystical Creation tale told in the first person; as he puts it in an author's note, "The voice of the story is an inner one... a spark ignited within us all." That narrative voice begins, "I was before time. I was everywhere. I was nothing. I was there. My spirit moved over the deep. I floated in darkness." Simple, restrained and elegaic, the text accompanies a stunning series of color-saturated, densely textured gesso and fabric paintings that play out on dramatic black backdrops. McDermott visually tracks the arc of Creation via the gradual introduction of pigment on the pages, beginning with neutral shades of gray, on through aquas and mossy greens for the sea and the earth, and intensifying the compositions with swirls of orange and plum and yellow and blue for the sun and stars ("I put shining lights in heaven"), then reds and emerald and browns added for the birds and beasts. Fluid shapes take form at the same time, with the circle of earth repeated in rounded swirls and graceful lines that underpin the dreamy visual images. Masterfully executed, this will kindle and fuel much thought. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)