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.