Alef – Bet Hebrew Let­ter Primer

Rachel Cha­put
  • Review
By – June 2, 2015

This is a per­fect lit­tle book to intro­duce young chil­dren to Hebrew and for adults just learn­ing the lan­guage (if they don’t mind the board book for­mat). Each page intro­duces a let­ter of the alef-bet in order and includes the Hebrew form, the Eng­lish spelling, the sound of the let­ter, and a poet­ic descrip­tion of the sound, as well as an engag­ing pen and ink illus­tra­tion, which serves as a mem­o­ry device. For exam­ple, Dalet looks like a div­ing board for dar­ing ducks” is accom­pa­nied by an image of yel­low duck­lings jump­ing off a dalet-shaped board into a pond. Occa­sion­al­ly, Cha­put includes Jew­ish metaphors, as the Hebrew let­ter chet look­ing like a chanuki­ah.

The book also includes final (sofit) let­ters, when­ev­er they occur in the alef-bet, as well as the dagesh forms (the ones with the dots in the mid­dle, which make a slight­ly dif­fer­ent sound, as in bet and vet.) A chart at the back of the book puts all the let­ters togeth­er with their pro­nun­ci­a­tions and how to write them. 

The book is a great intro­duc­tion to Hebrew read­ing, although the con­tent is advanced for the usu­al read­ers of board books. Recom­mended for ages 5 – 8 and enthu­si­as­tic adult Hebrew learn­ers who don’t mind read­ing a board book.

Paula Chaiken has worked in a vari­ety of capac­i­ties in the Jew­ish world — teach­ing in reli­gious school, curat­ing at the Sper­tus Muse­um and fundrais­ing for the Fed­er­a­tion — for more than twen­ty years. She also runs a bou­tique pub­lic rela­tions con­sult­ing firm and enjoys read­ing all sorts of books with her three sons.

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