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, the 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.