When the Beginning Began

Stories about god, the creatures and us

When the Beginning Began: Stories About God, the Creatures and Us
by Julius Lester, Harcourt Brace $17

The story of creation is depicted in this book with humor, honesty, seriousness and creativity. Lester, a scholar and prominent African-American activist who converted to Judaism as an adult, has written several books about Jewish history and culture to teach children the humanistic side of their past. He portrays God in different ways: as long red ribbons glowing in the sunlight to the angels in heaven, as a woman “as dark as wonder [with] hair as long as hope” on the earth below.

His Bible stories have a fable-like quality. When God asks Satan if he would have an animal-naming contest with Adam, Satan cannot refuse. However, after Adam wins, Satan cannot concede to him and instead starts to yell at God. God throws Satan into the bottom of the Earth in anger, but is also taught a lesson—that failure is just as much a part of life as success.

Maren Lange  is a senior at the Lab School in New York.