Mar­garet Hodges; Bar­ry Moser, illus.
  • Review
By – May 14, 2012
Mar­garet Hodges and Bar­ry Moser’s new book is a state­ly, dig­ni­fied pre­sen­ta­tion of high­lights from the life of the great leader of the Hebrew peo­ple. The 9” X 12” cov­er shows Moses as a mature shep­herd, draped in desert cloth­ing, hold­ing a lamb and grasp­ing his staff against a black back­ground. The sta­sis of this illus­tra­tion is typ­i­cal of Moser’s hand­some art­work in this book. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it does not con­tribute to mak­ing the dig­ni­fied and restrained nar­ra­tive very excit­ing. The life of Moses as the Torah nar­rates it, is a sto­ry of an intense, dynam­ic man, who hat­ed injus­tice, and who, with all his faults, was cho­sen to hear the voice of God, and lead the Hebrews out of bondage. His life and death pro­vide rich mate­r­i­al. How­ev­er, turn­ing this into an involv­ing nar­ra­tive is rare, evi­denced by the few pic­ture books about Moses. (An excep­tion is Morde­cai Gerstein’s Shad­ow of a Fly­ing Bird.) Though there is no fault with this well-made book, there is no fire. It is about Moses, but does not seem to be our Moses, Moshe Rabeinu, for whom Jews feel warmth, and close­ness. Jew­ish read­ers will appre­ci­ate the beau­ty of the illus­tra­tions more than the text. For ages 7 – 12.
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.

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