50 books: Sabbath edition

Yarr (that’s my “shamefaced pirate” voice), it’s Sunday.  Not supposed to conduct commerce on Sundays.  But if I skip a day, I’ll never get back on track, believe me.  So out of respect for the Lord’s day, for today’s book for the “50 books” list, I’m recommending a children’s Bible which is being sold used for under $2; so if I’m corrupting the Sabbath, I’m certainly not doing a very good job of it:

The Golden Bible, Old Testament, illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky

We own approximately 523 children’s Bibles, and this is far and away my favorite one.  The illustrations are completely magnificent.  Unforgettable, every single one of them — lively, absolutely blazing with color, and bursting with the strange glory and tenderness of the stories.  Even the endpapers are full of fascinating detail.  If you want your kids to come to you and say, “What is THIS about?” then leave this Old Testament where they can find it.

This is an oversized, hardcover book, printed back when books didn’t shed their pages after being read by kids a few times.  I’m having hard time finding examples of the illustrations online (and of course our scanner is broken), but here is the cover of one edition, showing creation:

I wish I could find the illustration for Solomon, with the false mother calm and pale as death, dressed in dainty pastels, and the real mother so earthy and passionate as she begs for her baby.  I wish Rojankovsky had done a New Testament!  I guess it’s that old Inferno/Paradiso problem – -it’s so much easier to tell a compelling story when it doesn’t have a happy ending.  Not that the Old Testament doesn’t have a happy ending, but you know what I mean.

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