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A Beautiful World (Paperback)

Children's Books

By Yael Gover, Illustrations by Paul Kor
Imprint: Green Bean Books
Pages: 24
ISBN: 9781805000037
Published: 20th September 2023



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This beautifully written, eye-catching book takes young readers on a journey through the story of creation. With the help of a magic paintbrush, the whole world is formed out of the darkness. First the oceans and land, then the moon and stars, followed by all the animals and people.

The book is notable for the way it invites children to be creative and use their imagination: producing art is shown as a beautiful act of creation, and vice-versa. The message is a simple one: we all have the power to create beauty.

This exceptional work of children’s literature has been a long time in the making. The illustrations were originally produced in 1973 by renowned Israeli artist Paul Kor. More than 25 years later, award-winning author Yael Gover completed the text, and the book was published in Hebrew. For this much anticipated first English-language version of the book, Kor’s original artwork has been rescanned, making the colours more vibrant and accurate than in any previous edition.

This is a wholly unique book, made even more so by the fact that it recently made it into space! Israeli astronaut Eitan Stiva chose the book to take into space, where he read an edition of the work printed especially for the occasion – a spectacular journey for a spectacular book.

'Although there have been many picture books about how the world came to be according to Jewish tradition, A Beautiful World is unique. Yael Gover and Paul Kor imagine the act of creation in Genesis as a glorious art project, with a child creating the beauty of her environment. Readers are invited to follow her untutored imagination through the process of discovery. Paul Kor’s (1926 – 2001) images are reminiscent of 1960s pop art, like the work of Peter Max, but they also capture the naiveté of a child’s painting. Plants and animals populating the earth, sea, and sky are whimsical, with human-like facial expressions and the range of tones available in a box of primary colored paints. Each two-page spread has a flap that opens to reveal more words and another section of the illustration. The book’s format mirrors its theme: that verbal and visual creativity unfold gradually.

Gover captures the excitement of a child realizing her potential to bring ideas to life. The narrator asks her-self, “What’s missing? What can I add? Which colors should I pick?” Any artist who’s confronted a blank page will identify with these thoughts. Even if children aren’t familiar with the account of the world’s birth in the Bible, they will understand the message that creation begins with emptiness and culminates with a final vision.

The narrator becomes immersed in her artwork, going so far as to smell the flowers she has painted, and to “invite” the moon into her world. She asks questions about which creatures will swim in the waves and how many land animals will comfortably fit into the composition, welcoming the reader to participate in her creation. The question “Should I draw more?” will make sense to children who often wonder whether their own picture is finished.

A surprise at the end of the book reiterates that every artist is both an individual and a collaborator. Each creature inhabits its own niche, but also forms part of our largest community: the world itself.’

Emily Schneider, Jewish Book Council

"The upbeat text is perfectly complemented by a cheerful palette and childlike illustrations, reminiscent of The Beatles' Yellow Submarine.”

Dena Bach, Illustration Editor, www.sydneytaylorshmooze.com

"With upbeat text perfectly complemented by a cheerful palette and childlike illustrations, A Beautiful World takes us through the creation story. A nameless narrator - apparently Hashem - begins with a black page and adds light and color, water and land, plants and animals, and so on, until the world is almost complete. What is missing? Why, you, the reader! Just as Hashem invites us to be partners in creation, the narrator invites the reader to be a partner in enjoying the world - and reading this book! The final page has a mirror on it so the child reader can see herself. Young children love seeing themselves in the mirror, so that would certainly add to the fun! A Beautiful World is sure to be a favorite of young children - and their parents.”

Rachel J. Fremmer, www.sydneytaylorshmooze.com

About Yael Gover

Yael Gover is a writer and senior editor of children's books at Kinneret-Zmora Publishing House in Israel. She was born in Jerusalem and now lives in Ramat Gan, where she raises three children, two lemon trees and one dog. Having worked with the some of the best authors in Israel, she has left a distinctive mark on children's literature in Hebrew. Her books Doctor Yoyo and The Emir and the Jewish Cobbler, were both selected for the PJ Library, and Doctor Yoyo won the prestigious Dvora Omer award for children's literature.

About Paul Kor

Paul Kor was an artist and author, world-renowned for his paintings, books, illustrations and graphic design. He was born to a Jewish family in France in 1926. In 1948, Kor immigrated to Israel and began developing a distinct visual language. During the 1960s, he designed banknotes, postal stamps and posters. His work became so widely recognized that multinational companies commissioned his work, including El-Al Airlines, Elite and Coca-Cola. In the 1970s, Kor developed an interest in children’s books. Flash the Fish won a certificate of merit from the Israel Museum and has been translated into a dozen languages. Kor’s sensational artwork has earned him countless awards all over the world.

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