cover image ADAM & EVE'S FIRST SUNSET: God's New Day


Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, , illus. by Joani Keller Rothenberg. . Jewish Lights, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-58023-177-0

The sun is going down on the first day in Eden, and Adam and Eve can't believe their eyes. Creatively and fruitfully expanding on a midrash, Sasso imagines Adam and Eve's surprise and, later, their fear and helplessness as they watch the sun sink irretrievably (or so they think) past the horizon and plunge the earth into darkness. They pray to God to bring back the sun, build fires that don't last, pray again and, when there's "no answer," they fall asleep, "waiting for the world to end." It's easy to identify with Sasso's Adam and Eve, whose childlike reactions allow readers to experience the Creation story in a new and personal way. Rothenberg, previously paired with Sasso for Cain and Abel: Finding the Fruits of Peace , adheres to her folk-art style. She sets the action within brightly patterned framed panels on colorful textured paper; this elaborate set-up, however, distances the audience from the goings-on. The artist's apparent wish to keep Adam and Eve discreetly covered also limits readers' direct exposure to them—they are dwarfed by the scale, partially obstructed, etc. While the illustrations are attractive, they don't match the text in its attainment of a very high goal: making a classic Bible tale freshly affecting. Ages 6-up. (Dec.)