This introduction for English-speaking young readers to classic Israeli writer and Nobel laureate S. Y. Agnon is a wonderful idea. In this creative book, noted Israeli artist Shay Charka has reinterpreted three of Agnon’s timeless tales as graphic art in new iterations guaranteed to appeal, which will make Agnon familiar to yet another generation.
The first story concerns the attempt of the protagonist to tame the wind. The second is a painful and poignant tale of the eternal longing of the Jewish people for the land of Israel. The third is a mystical folk tale that tickles the imagination and provides food for thought and is particularly appropriate to the graphic art form as it explores the relationship between literature and art.
The illustrations are extraordinary in their use of color, line, and facial expression; the atmosphere of each story comes alive through the art as well as the language. This book is a nearly perfect marriage of word and image.
Highly recommended for ages 12 and up.
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. She has lectured on a variety of topics relating to children and books and her greatest joy is reading to her grandchildren on both sides of the ocean. Michal lives in Great Neck, NY and Efrat, Israel.