Older children and adults will marvel at this incredible pop-up art book for the mature reader. Chuck Fischer’s latest volume uses magnificent works by world famous artists on display in myriad museums and churches to intelligently retell and analyze the dramatic stories that open the Bible. The vision is that of the artist inspired by the Book of Genesis, rather than the clergyman, as the sub-title honestly announces. Fischer chooses sensational bible tales: Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah, Tower of Babel, Jacob’s Ladder and Joseph. After summarizing these familiar plots, author Curtis Flowers discusses the ideas behind these indelible stories and their powerful, wrathful, covenanting God. Flowers briefly parses creation, expulsion, divine promises, angels, dreams, brotherly rivalry, betrayal and relationships that bind us. The sound, interesting text is ecumenical rather than Jewish and includes Christian terms in its analysis. The art, on canvas, on glass, in sculpture, draws readers to the book. Large two-page spreads pop up incredibly sturdy, intricate, high designs that symbolize the narrative under discussion; tiny books inside tiny books in the lower corners contain the text. The engineering and the artistic vision are wondrous show stoppers. Incorporating canvases from Bosch, Brueghel, Cranach, Domenichino, Michelangelo, Raphael, Rubens, Tiepolo and many others, Fischer delivers a glorious book, certain to stimulate discussion, to encourage guessing the artist and to offer a joyous return to youth in manipulating the pages.
Ellen G. Cole, the librarian of the Levine Library of Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles, is a past judge of the Sydney Taylor Book Awards and a past chairperson of that committee. She is a co-author of the AJL guide, Excellence in Jewish Children’s Literature. Ellen is the recipient of two major awards for contribution to Judaic Librarianship, the Fanny Goldstein Merit Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries and the Dorothy Schroeder Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries of Southern California. She is on the board of AJLSC.