JPS Illus­trat­ed Chil­dren’s Bible

Ellen Frankel; Avi Katz, illus.

  • Review
By – October 6, 2011

There are many adap­ta­tions of the Bible writ­ten at a child’s lev­el. The JPS Illus­trat­ed Children’s Bibleis one of the best ver­sions I’ve ever come across. Ellen Frankel, the­former CEO and edi­tor-in- chief of the Jew­ish Pub­li­ca­tion Soci­ety has care­full­y­s­e­lect­ed fifty-three Bible clas­sics and craft­ed them into exciting,easy-to-understand sto­ries for young learn­ers. Com­ple­ment­ing the textare the dra­mat­ic illus­tra­tions of award-win­ning artist, Avi Katz. Hissoft­ly brushed land­scapes are the per­fect back­drops for his vivid­por­traits of the char­ac­ters in each scene. Chil­dren will be cap­ti­vat­ed­by the pic­tures as they are drawn in by the words. Most of the sto­riesin the JPS Illus­trat­ed Children’s Bible are from the Torah, with asmat­ter­ing includ­ed from Prophets and three major tales from theWrit­ings. Each retelling, while true to the ancient ver­sion, has been­mas­ter­ful­ly adapt­ed for the twen­ty- first cen­tu­ry child. Archaiclan­guage has been replaced with more famil­iar vocab­u­lary, yet somean­cient terms have been retained to give chil­dren a feel for thes­pe­cial dic­tion that char­ac­ter­izes sacred texts.” Through­out the book,care has been tak­en to bal­ance these two con­cerns. An Author’sNotebook” at the end of the book explains the choic­es Frankel made asshe trans­lat­ed the Jew­ish text. Her adap­ta­tions accom­mo­date the youngAmer­i­can read­er with­out dimin­ish­ing either the con­tent or the mean­ing ofthe orig­i­nal sto­ries. The chap­ters are dra­mat­ic, the illus­tra­tionspow­er­ful, cre­at­ing a dynam­ic children’s Bible that will be cher­ished bythe entire fam­i­ly. Rec­om­mend­ed for adults to share with chil­dren ages4 – 8, read­ing lev­el ages 9 – 12

Read Ellen Frankel’s Posts for the Vis­it­ing Scribe

Mak­ing the Bible PG: How Children’s Bibles Differ

What is Jew­ish Literature?

The Tow­er of Babel and Cri­sis of Translation 


Mar­cia Ber­neger is a retired teacher who lives with her hus­band and three crazy dogs. She taught both first and sec­ond grade, as well as spe­cial edu­ca­tion. She cur­rent­ly teach­es Torah school, in addi­tion to her vol­un­teer work in class­rooms, libraries, and with var­i­ous fundrais­ers. She lives in San Diego.

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