The Sev­enth Day

Deb­o­rah Bod­in Cohen; Melanie Hall, illus.
  • Review
By – August 6, 2012
If the Gen­e­sis sto­ry of cre­ation seems hope­less­ly abstract, The Sev­enth Day uses fig­u­ra­tive lan­guage to make it tan­gi­ble. God forms snow-topped moun­tains like a pot­ter, col­ors the sky blue and yel­low like a painter, and sings out roar­ing lions like a musi­cian. On the sixth day, God makes a boy and a girl in God’s own image, using all the artis­tic pos­si­bil­i­ties: mold­ing spaces between their toes, draw­ing rosy brown freck­les, tick­ling laughs into their bel­lies and prayers into their souls.” Then God rests, joined by the boy and girl in a Shab­bat cel­e­bra­tion com­plete with bless­ings and pur­ple wine. Flu­id illus­tra­tions in sooth­ing col­ors help to reify the ancient sto­ry and con­vey the beau­ty of the cre­at­ed world — though with­out tak­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty to elab­o­rate the nar­ra­tive with extra details. This lyri­cal ren­der­ing con­veys the spir­it rather than the pre­cise sub­stance of the cre­ation sto­ry. It doesn’t fol­low a strict order of events or explain what hap­pened on each day (except the sixth and sev­enth), but it does make the sto­ry acces­si­ble. That God cre­ates chil­dren encour­ages a young audi­ence to relate to the char­ac­ters. The choice to use only the first of the two Gen­e­sis cre­ation nar­ra­tives allows the sto­ry to flow; it also means that the boy and girl are cre­at­ed at the same time, which, cou­pled with the lack of gen­dered ref­er­ences to God, gives the sto­ry appeal for a lib­er­al audi­ence. Ages 3 – 8.
Phoebe Sorkin, who grad­u­at­ed from Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty, works in the edi­to­r­i­al depart­ment of Lit­tle, Brown and Com­pa­ny Books for Young Readers.

Discussion Questions