Once the world was young, and the people spoke one common language. The population grew, and the valley they lived in got crowded. So the people moved to a new spot, a bigger spot, and began to build a city. They envisioned at the town’s center a tower so tall it would protect them from future floods, so tall it would reach God in the heavens. But as the tower grew, so, too grew their pride. As the Bible story goes, God took note of their arrogance and punished them. He changed their common tongue to a wide variety of different languages — English, Hebrew, French, and so on, ensuring that neighbor could no longer communicate with neighbor. Construction came to a halt, and people sadly went their separate ways, the tower forgotten and the challenge to God forgotten. Babelis a beautiful book. The text is just the right mix of lightheartedness and seriousness; the warning about human hubris goes down easily. The cartoon-style illustrations and design manage to be both charmingly old-fashioned and perfectly contemporary. This is a terrific choice for anyone looking for a Bible story retelling.
Recommended for ages 4 – 7.
Leslie Kimmelman grew up outside Philadelphia and graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont. She is the author of many children’s books, awards for which include Best Children’s Books of the Year from the Bank Street College of Education; Notable Children’s Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies; and Sydney Taylor Notable Books. Kimmelman is an editor at Sesame Workshop and lives with her family just north of New York City.