Review: Eve and Adam and Their Very First Day

Eve and Adam and Their Very First Day

by Leslie Kimmelman, illustrated by Irina Augustinovich

Apples & Honey Press (imprint of Behrman House), 2023

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Linda Elovitz Marshall

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On her very first day in the Garden of Eden, Eve (who is strong and inquisitive and not afraid of anything), meets Adam, who was made first and has a beautiful smile. Together, they wander the Garden giving names to things. Adam gives simple names. Eve prefers more imaginative ones. However, Day doesn’t last forever. The sun goes down. Night comes. Eve and Adam are nervous. It’s dark. They are new and have never seen night before. But they have faith and, together, they make it through. Kimmelman’s beautiful, lyrical language combines with Irina Augustinovich’s spectacularly sensitive illustrations to give readers a creative telling of Eve and Adam’s first day. The two have golden skin and wavy black hair, which can be interpreted as white, Asian, or Latinx. Eve's long hair, along with various elements of nature, are cleverly used to hide the couple's nakedness in an unforced manner.

This is a book about faith and about getting through tough moments (like when the sun disappears) and knowing, somehow, that things will be good once again. Eve and Adam is based on a Torah story that, to the best of this reviewer’s knowledge, originated with the Jewish people and subsequently entered the other Abrahamic religions. That makes it an authentically Jewish story. The book will probably resonate with all of the Abrahamic religions, with all strands of Judaism, perhaps even with all beliefs. It might even resonate with those who have no religious beliefs. An important book for all preschool libraries. Includes Author’s Note on the role that faith plays in the story… and in life.

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Award-winning author of two dozen picture books, Linda Elovitz Marshall attended Barnard College/Columbia University and studied cultural anthropology. After raising four children and a small flock of sheep, pursuing a Ph.D. in anthropology, and owning a bookstore, Linda began writing for children. Her Jewish-themed books include THE POLIO PIONEER: Dr. Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine and GOOD NIGHT, WIND, based on Moyshe Kulbak’s Yiddish tale translated by Miriam Udel and, forthcoming, THE MEXICAN DREIDEL (with Ilan Stavans) and BRAVE VOLODYMYR: The Story of Volodymyr Zelensky and the Fight for Ukraine with illustrations by Ukrainian artist Grasya Oliyko (HarperCollins).


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