The Lord is My Shep­herd: The Twen­ty-third Psalm

Gen­nady Spirin, illus.
  • Review
By – February 13, 2012
This is not a Jew­ish book despite the ori­gin of this mov­ing psalm. The idea was to cre­ate a pic­ture book from one large, beau­ti­ful paint­ing. Chil­dren were sup­posed to enjoy the expe­ri­ence of see­ing the paint­ing in small­er por­tions on each page until they open up the final fold­ed poster which reveals that each page’s illus­tra­tion is a part of a dra­mat­ic whole. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it will not inter­est either par­ents or chil­dren. The bib­li­cal text appears with­out any expla­na­tions, a few lines per page. The illus­tra­tions are sec­u­lar and tend toward Chris­to­log­i­cal. Each page has panoram­ic art that bounces from real­is­ti­cal­ly ancient scenes to mys­ti­cal tableaus to strange, sym­bol­ic dec­o­ra­tions. The artis­tic idea (if not the text top­ic) is a good one for chil­dren, except the art here is too much beyond their com­pre­hen­sion. But if this is intend­ed for adults as an art­sy gift book, it is no more suc­cess­ful. The author is a tal­ent­ed, not­ed illus­tra­tor and the pub­lish­er prob­a­bly hoped his name would car­ry the sales, but not this time.

Ellen G. Cole, a retired librar­i­an of the Levine Library of Tem­ple Isa­iah in Los Ange­les, is a past judge of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards and a past chair­per­son of that com­mit­tee. She is a co-author of the AJL guide, Excel­lence in Jew­ish Children’s Lit­er­a­ture. Ellen is the recip­i­ent of two major awards for con­tri­bu­tion to Juda­ic Librar­i­an­ship, the Fan­ny Gold­stein Mer­it Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries and the Dorothy Schroed­er Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. She is on the board of AJLSC.

Discussion Questions