After cleaning his room, Joshua’s mother rewards him with a bedtime story. At his request, she tells him the story of David and Goliath, but warns him: “It’s a great story, but it may be a bit scary — so I hope you don’t get butterflies in your stomach.” Additional idioms pepper her retelling. Goliath is described as being “as big as a barn and armed to the teeth,” the Jewish people were “at the end of their rope,” and David “succeeded with flying colors.” Each phrase is emphasized with a bold, outlined, enlarged purple text and Joshua imagines them literally. While the illustrations are rather garish and flat they do humorously depict Goliath “skating on thin ice,” with “a screw loose” and “barking up the wrong tree.” The phrases are explained on the bottom of each page and a list of “Cliché Definitions” is appended to the back of the book. A cliché is a trite, stereotyped expression that has been overused but the author’s examples seem more like idioms — phrases that are not taken literally. Nonetheless, this is a fun retelling of the familiar story and an entertaining way to introduce young readers to both idioms and clichés. Recommended for ages 4 – 8.
Rachel Kamin is the Director of the Joseph and Mae Gray Cultural & Learning Center at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, Illinois. A past chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, Rachel is currently the co-editor of Book Reviews for Children & Teens for the Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter. She holds a BA in history from Grinnell College and a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Michigan.