Sarah Laughs

Jacque­line Jules; Natas­cia Ugliano, illus.
  • Review
By – February 13, 2012
Not every bible sto­ry can be suc­cess­ful­ly trans­lat­ed into a book for young chil­dren. This attrac­tive paper­back pic­ture book, nev­er­the­less attempts it, and suc­ceeds in many ways. When Sarah under­stands, that in spite of her advanced age, she will bear a child in a year, she laughs her famous laugh. The book describes this as a tin­kling sound that bub­bled from deep inside her and skipped through the air.” Whether or not the sound was as light­heart­ed as that, we can­not say. Sarah is pre­sent­ed as a beau­ti­ful and loy­al wife, as well as a gen­er­ous and wel­com­ing host. The author shows that grow­ing old child­less was a source of sad­ness and wor­ry for Sarah. Natas­cia Ugliano’s bright illus­tra­tions show a very pret­ty dark haired young woman, grow­ing old­er through­out the sto­ry. Giv­ing young chil­dren an acquain­tance with our impor­tant matri­archs in the Tanach is impor­tant. Per­haps more acces­si­ble to chil­dren than Sarah’s laugh, and the conun­drum of the child­less wife in the bible, is Abraham’s lone­ly and orig­i­nal belief in an invis­i­ble God, and his deci­sion to lis­ten to God’s direc­tions. God speaks to Abra­ham and he lis­tens. He leaves his home and jour­neys to Canaan. Sarah, who seems not hear God’s voice her­self, lis­tens as Abra­ham relates what he under­stands. Author Jacque­line Jules pro­vides inter­est­ing bib­li­o­graph­i­cal notes at the end of the book so that adults who read this may be inspired to explore the matri­arch Sarah fur­ther. Bound by Kar-Ben in paper­back, 10” x 10”, and illus­trat­ed with bright pas­tels in soft­ened pri­ma­ry col­ors, the book has a lot of child appeal. Col­or­ful tents, sheep, cat­tle, bas­kets and jugs, dec­o­rate the pages. The suc­cinct text on each page make the sto­ry brief enough to read aloud to young chil­dren, in groups or indi­vid­u­al­ly. For ages 4 to 7.
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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