Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Animals of the Bible for Young Children, adapted by Marie-Helene Delval, illustrated by Aurelia Fronty

A variety of animals mentioned in the Bible are illustrated in dazzling colors and iconic (if that's the word I want) art. Marie-Helene Delval's adaptions of various passages from the Bible are sometimes smooth and lyrical, for example "When it all began, the breath of God floated over the waters. God made the earth, the sky, the sea, and everything in them. The sky surrounded the earth and was reflected in the water." However, almost every passage ends with an exclamation mark which becomes extremely annoying after several pages. There are also some very odd translations, such as the retelling of Jesus' words regarding the rich man and the camel "The more money and things you have, the harder it is to share with those who have nothing." Huh? I don't recall that in any translation. I couldn't find a reference to what translation Delval used, but this book was originally published in French, so the multiple translations may have lost something along the way.

Some of the art is beautiful, like the gorgeous greens and vivid hues of the various animals on page 89, but some of it is just plain weird, like the winged faces that seem to represent angels or the androgynous Jonah who appears to be lying on top of the fish.

Most of the art is beautiful, and apart from a few clangers and the omnipresent exclamation points I enjoyed the adapted Scripture passages.

Verdict: This isn't your everyday Bible story book, and I still prefer the original, Caldecott-winning Animals of the Bible by Dorothy Lathrop, but if you have a strong audience for Bible stories who would also appreciate the unique art, you might want to add this to your collection.

ISBN: 978-0802853769; Published June 2010 by Eerdmans; F&G provided by publisher through LibraryThing Early Reviewers

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