ONE DAY IN PARADISE, retold and illustrated by Helme Heine (Atheneum: $12.95; 32 pp.; ages 4-9). Easter, to many kids, just means a new outfit to wear or walking up to a basket of jelly beans and chocolate. If gift-giving is part of your family tradition, religious or not, why not include something they can digest, slowly, without ruining their teeth?
In graceful, friendly watercolors the Bible story of Creation is retold here by internationally acclaimed Helme Heine. God is shown as a thoughtful old gentleman with a long beard and yellow hat, as He goes about His business of designing the heavens, seas and Earth. On the sixth day, He begins puttering in His studio with chisel and paintbrush, having saved the task of making human beings for last.
Several double-spreads show Adam and Eve as children exploring paradise, riding on the backs of loping panthers in a lagoon busy with animals. Heine's text is simple, his beautiful illustrations a pleasure to be savored by all ages. He depicts God in the literal sense, as artist and creator, a loving and peaceful God who gives humans "a mouth to tell about the wonders of the world and a heart, a big heart, to love His creation."