The First Gift

A.S. Gadot, Marie Lafrance, illus.
  • Review
By – May 14, 2012
A lit­tle boy tells how he received the gift of his name by first intro­duc­ing King David, then dis­cussing how Adam named all of the liv­ing things, list­ing bib­li­cal names and names com­mon in Mex­i­co, Rus­sia, and Israel, and then explain­ing how he was named after his great-grand­fa­ther. Jew­ish nam­ing cus­toms are briefly explained in an author’s note. The text jumps from King David to Adam to nam­ing cus­toms around the world with­out any tran­si­tions, result­ing in a nar­ra­tion that feels ran­dom and chop­py. The illus­tra­tions lack dimen­sion and move­ment, and the changes in font sizes are dis­tract­ing. So while the con­cept of this book is appeal­ing, it is inef­fec­tive at show­ing the read­er how tru­ly won­der­ful the gift of a name can be.

Read­ing Guide

Rachel Kamin has been a syn­a­gogue librar­i­an and Jew­ish edu­ca­tor for over twen­ty-five years and has worked at North Sub­ur­ban Syn­a­gogue Beth El in High­land Park, IL since 2008, cur­rent­ly serv­ing as the Direc­tor of Life­long Learn­ing. A past chair of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee and past edi­tor of Book Reviews for Chil­dren & Teens for the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries News & Reviews, her arti­cles and book reviews appear in numer­ous pub­li­ca­tions. She has been a mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Library Association’s Sophie Brody Book Award Com­mit­tee since 2021.

Discussion Questions