Beginning with the story of Creation, according to our author, the Bible teaches readers to respect the land and conserve natural resources. Stories from the Bible are retold in the author’s own language, often humorously. Titles of stories include: Greener Pastures, Abraham and Sustainable Herding; Reduce Reuse Recycle, Building the Tabernacle; and Every Seven Years, a Sabbath For the Land. Suggested kid-directed activities follow each story, which can be useful, particularly for parents and teachers who want to help children carry out simple projects to involve them in recognition and care of their environment. In some stories, archaeological or historical points are also raised. The “Noah’s Ark” activities focus on biodiversity in an age-appropriate fashion. “Joseph in Egypt” focuses on creating a survival kit including a clever, hands-on set of directions for preserving pickles. The story of Joshua in which he commands the sun to stand still is a powerful jump-off to address the use of solar power. The Shmittah year, a yearlong rest from planting, presents the concept of sustainable agriculture, overcrowding, and preserving fruits. A nine-page potpourri follows the stories as a corollary, with Jewish-centered thoughts on topics such as Bal Tashchit (Don’t Waste or Destroy). The Biblical content is interwoven with contemporary environmental goals. Illustrations assist the reader in visualizing people and events from the Biblical periods and work well with the text. This new book, while interesting for children to read alone, can also be useful for Tu B’Shevat and Earth Day events. Recommended for ages 8 – 11.
Shelly Feit has an M.L.S. and a Sixth-year Specialist’s Certificate in information science. She is the library director and media specialist at the Moriah School in Englewood, NJ.