This beautifully conceived book introduces some of the main characters in the Bible to young readers. Easy-to-read paragraphs describe each of their personalities, most important characteristics, major deeds, and surrounding circumstances. Their lives reveal lessons that are short, pithy, and filled with wisdom: “Once you know something, you can’t unknow it,” says Eve; ” … sometimes a dream can be more than a dream,” teaches Joseph; and Moses isn’t sure he has the ability to lead but “step[s] up” when the time is right.
Each depiction features illustrations with rich color and texture, symbolism and humor, and collage, all of which add depth and meaning to the story. The illustrator gives Noah water wings, hints at his travels by way of a stamped postcard that forms his torso, and, when Sarah learns of her impending motherhood, represents her laughter in the form of wind-up teeth with tinkling bells and eyes.
Some lesser-known biblical figures, such Balaam and Elijah, are included, allowing for a wider and deeper reading of the stories than is usually accounted for. An authors’ note encourages children to think of learning as a lifelong endeavor.
Filled with creativity and joy, this book may inspire young readers to dig deeper into Jewish lore and learn more about their multi-layered and priceless heritage.
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.