Like the other books in JPS’s Kids’ Catalog series, this is a useful and fact-filled compendium, written in the author’s sprightly style and illustrated, in part, with her child-friendly cartoon stories. In the copy that was reviewed, all of the illustrations and photographs are in black and white, making for a somewhat monotonous format. The content is comprehensive, including factual information, history, lore, legend, short stories, experiments, crafts and activities, a mini-encyclopedia, and an index. Although the focus is on Israel and Judaism with a broad sweep that ranges from biblical beginnings to ecology and zoology, the contributions of non-Jewish “eco-heroes” like Rachel Carson and Jane Goodall are also covered. Kids who consult the catalog at Tu B’Shevat or any other time of the year will find themselves not only informed but motivated to take action on behalf of the earth and its living things. This important addition to library collections of all kinds is for ages 9 – 14.
Linda R. Silver is a specialist in Jewish children’s literature. She is editor of the Association of Jewish Libraries’ Jewish Valuesfinder, www.ajljewishvalues.org, and author of Best Jewish Books for Children and Teens: A JPS Guide (The Jewish Publication Society, 2010) and The Jewish Values Finder: A Guide to Values in Jewish Children’s Literature (Neal-Schuman, 2008).