Bezalel is a slave in Egypt. Although his life is harsh, he sees beauty everywhere. To him, a feather, a smooth stone, and a piece of colored string are treasures to be cherished and stored in his Beautiful Things Box. When Pharaoh suddenly allows the Israelites to go free, and they can only take what they can carry, Bezalel refuses to leave his Beautiful Things Box behind. While in the desert, God calls to Moses and orders that a special dwelling place, a mishkan, be built for Him. Moses has no idea where they will they find materials to build a suitable house for God — until Bezalel empties his Beautiful Things Box on the sand. God is so pleased that Bezalel appreciates the beauty of simple objects that He chooses the young boy to design the mishkan.
Daniele Fabbri, an award-winning illustrator, uses a painterly style and a palette of mostly earth tones to imbue the illustrations with a charming, fairy-tale quality. A brief author’s note explains that a man named Bezalel, who appears in the Book of Exodus, is chosen by God to design and build the mishkan, and is given every skill he needs to do so.
Readers may also be interested in reading A Queen in Jerusalem featuring the Bezalel Academy, a school of art which is named after this biblical character.
Recommended for ages 5 to 9.
Susan Kantor was a senior writer/editor for Girl Scouts of the USA, a children’s book editor, and a past judge for the National Jewish Book Awards in the illustrated children’s book category. She is a writer and a docent at the Rubin Museum in New York City, where she leads public and private tours.