The Chil­dren’s Illus­trat­ed Jew­ish Bible

Laaren Brown and Lenny Hort; Eric Thomas, illus.; Susan Reuben, ed.
  • Review
By – March 9, 2012
This beau­ti­ful­ly illus­trat­ed book retells bible sto­ries from all three sec­tions of the Tanakh—Torah, Prophets, and Writ­ings. Along the sides of the sto­ries are illus­tra­tions and pho­tographs that help chil­dren iden­ti­fy places, life style, and time peri­ods in the typ­i­cal DK for­mat. The trans­la­tion and bib­li­cal quotes fol­low The Holy Scrip­tures Accord­ing to the Masoret­ic Text: A New Trans­la­tion, copy­right 1917 by Jew­ish Pub­li­ca­tion Soci­ety. Each Bible sto­ry is told on a two-page spread. The sto­ries are told sim­ply with an empha­sis on action that will hold a child’s inter­est. In addi­tion, there are many inter­est­ing facts and infor­ma­tion about the ancient Hebrews giv­en in intro­duc­tions explain­ing each sec­tion and side­bars along each page. The book has an excel­lent index, list of Bib­li­cal places and Bib­li­cal names. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, very few entries are about women in the Bible. Although the authors talk about Jacob and his sons, there is no men­tion of his daugh­ter Dinah. The Matri­archs are men­tioned only in rela­tion­ship to Abra­ham, Isaac, and Jacob. There is no men­tion of Deb­o­rah, either. Although the sto­ry of Josi­ah and the Scrolls is told, Hul­dah is absent from this ver­sion. There is a nice retelling of the sto­ry of Ruth, how­ev­er, and Michal’s res­cue of David is pre­sent­ed well. The pic­tures are col­or­ful and include many pho­tographs of mod­ern day peo­ple in bib­li­cal set­tings. For exam­ple, when talk­ing about David being a shep­herd, the illus­tra­tor uses a pho­to of a shep­herd in mod­ern Israel. Pho­tographs of stat­ues and pot­tery found in archae­o­log­i­cal digs in addi­tion to pho­tos of actu­al places men­tioned in the text add immea­sur­ably to the book’s appeal. The audio CD tells some of the sto­ries from the book. Tere­sa Gal­lagher, the nar­ra­tor, has a pleas­ant speak­ing voice and uses good expres­sion in read­ing the sto­ries. The added infor­ma­tion, many side­bars, maps, and the retelling of the sto­ries them­selves in clear, easy-to-under­stand lan­guage make this a valu­able book for chil­dren and adults look­ing for a sim­ple intro­duc­tion to bib­li­cal text. This book is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed for all col­lec­tions. Ages 7 and up.
Susan Dubin was the first librar­i­an hon­ored with a Milken Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion Jew­ish Edu­ca­tor Award. She is the owner/​director of Off-the-Shelf Library Ser­vices and library instruc­tion­al con­sul­tant at Val­ley Beth Shalom Day School in Enci­no, CA.

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