cover image At Break of Day

At Break of Day

Nikki Grimes. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, $17 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8028-5104-8

Grimes (Jazmin's Notebook) bases this striking interpretation of the Genesis creation stories on Hebrews 1:1-2: ""In these last days [God] has spoken to us by a Son... through whom he also created the worlds."" Her approach is simultaneously intimate and archetypal: ""Once upon a time there was no time.... There was only darkness and the waters of the deep and a father and son who watched over them."" The son is at the heart of the tale, performing the acts of creation; the approving father names each of the son's works. Grimes captures the essence of a father/son relationship, with its mutual love and admiration, while also conveying the unique status of this particular father/son dynamic. Her lyrical gifts are everywhere in abundance, set out with a deceptive simplicity that evokes an oral tradition; fittingly, Morin's (The Orphan Boy) mixed-media illustrations also evoke the art of oral cultures. His animals, fish and flowers look as if they are made of fabric, embroidered or woven, painted on clay; the vivid colors look dyed; the patterns and designs conjure up images of indigenous art from around the world. This story speaks to the heart of Christian theology, stirringly depicting God's passionate love for creation, a love that would consent to become sacrificial--these complex lessons are implied, and the graceful delivery of sophisticated themes and imagery will entice readers to delve for such deeper meanings. All ages. (Nov.)