Do you recognize Musi and Musa, the red, yellow, blue, and green sculptural mascots that adorn the roof of the youth wing, and welcome children to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem? These comic boy and girl figures also scamper through the bright 72 page introduction to the museum. Featuring bright primary colors, and constructed of high quality, glossy paper, the book displays a combination of photographs, diagrams, and comic figures. Page layout is spacious and inviting with lots of white space around images and print. The font used is simple and legible. Musi and Musa’s colorful figures and speech balloons add a light touch. A typical double page spread shows photographs of ancient coins and on the facing page, one of an ancient glass jug. The text describes the objects, and asks questions, which are answered on an answer page at the back of the book. Although the publication date is 2000, this guide is not, and will not be, out of date for a long time since it deals with the historical and archeological artifacts of the permanent collection. The tone of the text is clear, factual, and playful. It never talks down to children. If connecting American children to Israel is your goal, or the goal of your school or synagogue library, you should have this guidebook. Highly recommended for children ages 6 – 12, their parents and teachers. This reviewer searched for a source in the United States, but found none. Order directly from the Israel Museum at www.imj.org.il
Naomi Morse managed a public library children’s room in Montgomery County, Maryland for many years, and then worked as head librarian at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School Lower School in Rockville, Maryland. She has served on AJL’s Sydney Taylor Committee, and last year (2008) was a member of ALA’s Caldecott Committee. She is an independent book reviewer.