cover image First Light, First Life: A Worldwide Creation Story

First Light, First Life: A Worldwide Creation Story

Paul Fleischman, illus. by Julie Paschkis. Holt, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62779-101-4

Fleischman and Paschkis return to the approach they used in 2007’s Cinderella-themed Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal, expertly weaving together elements from global creation myths to highlight their surprisingly similar story lines. A boxed passage from a myth appears on each page, attributed to the place it’s told or the people who tell it. Paschkis’s earth-and-sky-toned gouaches draw on appropriate indigenous elements while keeping the imagery smooth and visually harmonious. The universe starts from some fundamental substance (“In the beginning, there was fire and ice. In the beginning, there was a single drop of milk”), and sacred beings create earth and humans (“All was water. Then Obatala climbed down from the sky with a snail shell filled with earth, the first dry land”). After humans learn, grow, and cause trouble, the gods destroy the Earth with water or fire, and a small number of good humans are saved. The stories’ references to weather and environment are specific, yet they share an essential understanding of humans as made by gods and at the mercy of events they can’t control. Humankind really is one family, Fleischman suggests. Ages 6–9. Illustrator’s agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Sept.)