Love Is... Love Is...
Wendy Anderson Halperin, King James Bible. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82980-2
Adapting the apostle Paul's definitions of love in I Corinthians 13, Halperin (Hunting the White Cow) combines Paul's words with an intricate mosaic of watercolor-and-pencil vignettes to create a memorable, unusually thoughtful picture book. A simple line of text (e.g., ""Love is... patient. Love is kind"") runs across the bottom of each spread; above, Halperin's artwork appears in small, carefully arranged panels, akin to the pieces of a stained glass window. On each left-hand page, her panels depict people acting without love (ballplayers bicker; a pedestrian ignores a homeless man). The right-hand pages show the same people performing acts of kindness, touched by the joy love brings (a child stands at bat, a woman delivers meals-on-wheels). Other interpretations are more subtle. A panel on the spread illustrating ""Love... does not insist on its own way"" follows the metamorphosis of egg to caterpillar to butterfly; the spread for ""Love... believes all things"" is bordered by a row of crayons, pictures of seed packets, tools ranging from microscope to eggbeaters, and musical instruments. Some panels are reserved for continuing stories: as the pages progress, a house on the left becomes increasingly dilapidated, while on the right a sculptor transforms a block of marble into an enduring work of art (it's Michelangelo and his David). Those who pore over the pictures (and readers will want to) will find references to Aesop, Cinderella, the Three Little Pigs and more. With her thought-provoking, insightful visual examples, Halperin does an outstanding job of relating biblical text to contemporary, everyday life. All ages. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/2001