cover image Naming the Animals

Naming the Animals

Gardner McFall. Viking Children's Books, $13.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-84814-0

This slice of the Creation story focuses on Adam's creativity as he names the animals according to their appearance or behavior. Luckily for the reader, McFall's Adam has some imagination. ``Adam said, `Your size is extravagant, your trunk quite elegant. I'll call you the elephant.' '' And ``A creature fluttered by on yellow wings, `Oh, you are the butterfly.' '' Not all namings are as ingenious; indeed, some are a bit of a stretch. The lion is named for its roar: ``errL-L-I-I-O-O-O-N.'' Generally, though, the wordplay is thoughtful and fun. Guarnaccia uses chalk on grainy paper in a buoyant style recognizable by its vivid colors and zigzaggy, contemporary lines. The book ends with a sly joke as the recently named snake hovers portentously over the sleeping Adam. A sly doubt lingers, too: if names are the consequences of things, could someone named Gardner McFall help but write about Eden? Ages 3-8. (Mar.)