Creation Colors – Ann D. Koffsky, Apples & Honey Press, 2019
In the beginning, Ann D. Koffsky created a beautiful book about the creation of the world. Well, this book is actually not the beginning of Koffsky’s career as illustrator and/or author of Jewish-themed children’s books, including her timely story about the importance of vaccination, Judah Maccabee Goes to the Doctor, illustrated by Talitha Shipman (2017).
Creation Colors is Koffsky’s vibrant reimagining of the biblical creation story, and is perfect for young readers of any religious tradition that incorporates the Hebrew Bible, as well as for any young readers who may enjoy its resonant message of inclusiveness in a different context.
The simple and engaging premise of Creation Colors is that each one of the six days of creation, and the seventh day of rest, has a metaphorical link to one dominant color. The void of the first day becomes stark black and contrasting white, the second day features deep blue skies and seas, and the sixth day has a golden background covered by people, “in every shade and hue.” Koffsky’s bold paper cutouts and poetic text encourage young readers to experience the creation of the world as logical progression from the cosmos itself, to its animal inhabitants, and, finally, to people. Whether caregivers choose to present this narrative as myth, metaphor, or literal truth, Koffsky’s words and pictures promote awe and appreciation of the world, in which children will place themselves, their natural environment, and their neighbors, both local and global.
In a graphically appealing afterword, Koffsky addresses her readers, to discuss the importance of color in their own lives. She makes the seemingly obvious, but often overlooked, point that we might take the visual beauty of color for granted. In the same way, she hopes that her book will help young readers to look at all the products of creation with renewed focus. Her numbered list of days and gifts is printed in different color fonts for each gift, from light and darkness, to the day of rest.
Creation Colors is designed to read to young children, but the consistency and directness of its language and images transcend age limits. For older children and adults, it might also serve as a reminder to look through a new lens, maybe one made of paper cutouts, at the earth and the people who live here.