cover image Adam and Eve: The Bible Story

Adam and Eve: The Bible Story

Warwick Hutton. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $14.95 (30pp) ISBN 978-0-689-50433-4

Hutton once again shows himself to be a sensitive, masterful interpreter of biblical lore. Renowned for his picture-book versions of the stories of Noah, Moses and Jonah, he now turns to the very beginningCreation itself. With delicate watercolor washes and the subtle texture of his ink line, he imaginatively recreates the gradual shaping of the heavens and the earth and its creatures from the dark, inchoate void, as well as the drama of man's fall from paradise. With his characteristic textual integrity, Hutton retains the understated yet forceful eloquence of Old Testament scripture. His paintings superbly extend the simple telling, depicting an Eden that is lush and wondrous, the scene of exotic vegetation, dramatic gorges and rivers, and the harmonious coexistence of the beasts and fowl brought forth from the earth. It is a place bathed in radiant, transforming lightlight that, through Hutton's artistic skill, is truly evocative of the divine. Yet all along there are suggestions of darkness in this paradise as well. Before its actual appearance in the story, the serpent can be seen concealed amidst particularly resplendent flora; ringing the airy, luminescent clearing are shadowy recesses, which take on new meaning when they become a place of concealment for the garden's no-longer-innocent human inhabitants. It is this interplay of sun and shadow, of light and darkness and, ultimately, of joy and sorrow, that makes Hutton's not only a beautiful but a deeply satisfying interpretation. Through his vision, we see that Adam and Eve's tragedy is not only the shedding of innocence and immortality, but the loss of perfect and transcendent beautya loss he allows us to experience through the richness of his paintings. All ages. (September)