Author: James Weldon Johnson
Illustrator: James E. Ransome
Publisher: Holiday House
Audience: Ages: 3 – 8 (although could be used with youth and adults as well)
Summary: The Creation is a retelling of the biblical creation story from Genesis in poetry format. The author uses an older African American, maybe a father or a grandfather, to retell how God made everything from the Earth, to the birds in the sky, the fish in the ocean and the first human. The author’s description of each thoughtful step in God’s creation is absolutely beautiful and the color illustrations bring that beauty to life.
Literary elements at work in the story: The poem was originally written in 1919 by James Weldon Johnson as the first in a series of 7 poems that capture some of the tradition of the old-time African American plantation church sermons complete with African American dialect interspersed throughout. The presentation of the poem in 3rd person narrative allows the reader to visualize the imagery in each act of God in the making of God’s creation. Additionally, the older reader is allowed to gain some true insight into the relational nature of our God to God’s created order and to humanity when God says: “I’m lonely….I’ll make me a world” and “I’m lonely…I’ll make me a man”.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic ability: Although the author is African American and the story narrator is pictured as African American, the story is universal for all Christians and could therefore be used with any audience where the creation story is being taught or discussed.
Theological conversation partners: Genesis 1
Faith Talk Questions:
1. What happened when God smiled? Is there a message there for us? If so, what?
2. Why do you think that God created all the things that he did?
3. Do you think that the order in which they were created has any significance? Why?
4. Why did God create humans?
5. How did God create humans?
6. What made humans living beings?
Review prepared by Union Presbyterian Seminary student Donna Fair.
The Creation by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.