Thursday, January 28, 2010

Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden

Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden, written and illustrated by Jane Ray, is a basically a retelling of the story in the book of Genesis. However, although the author includes all the elements of the Biblical creation story, this version differs from the Biblical story.

As the publisher says in a blurb on the book’s jacket flap: “Jane Ray’s beautiful version of the familiar story takes into account creation myths the world over.” Thus, her story includes features never mentioned in the Bible, such as a fountain in the middle of the garden. Also, in this version there are two trees called the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life; the Bible says there was one tree called the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

After Adam and Eve are banished from the garden, the text says: “God gave Adam and Eve warm clothes to wear. He handed them some seeds and cuttings from the garden. Then God sent them out into the world.” When they leave the garden it says, “IN the bear earth beyond Eden, Adam and Eve planted anew garden for their family.”

The illustrations in this book are truly beautiful. They provide a feast for the eyes with a plethora of colors and shapes. All of the pages have borders, some of which are greatly detailed with line drawings, pieces of musical scores, etc., giving the edges a quilt-like effect.

What I Like: The artwork is my favorite part of the book. Be warned, though, it might be considered by some to be a bit sophisticated or inappropriate for children, as both Adam and Eve are clearly naked until they are removed from the garden. In one of the illustrations, one of Eve’s naked breasts is rather prominent.

What I Dislike: I like the different approach to the creation story, but I’m uncomfortable with the idea of the author using ideas from different “creation myths” for the book, as this implies the Biblical story is not true, it’s just a myth.

Overall Rating: Good.

Age Appeal: 5-9.

Publisher Info: Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers, 2005; ISBN: 0802852785; Hardcover, $17.00

Buy now at $12.75.
Special Info: Visit the illustrator’s website.

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