When Sarah Laughed

Alle­gra Magris­so; Beth Shadur, illus.
  • Review
By – December 10, 2013

Could there be a more beau­ti­ful ver­sion of Abra­ham and Sarah’s sto­ry than this sparkling book, lyri­cal­ly writ­ten by Alle­gra Magris­so and glow­ing­ly illus­trat­ed by Beth Shadur? It’s a retelling of the famil­iar Bible sto­ry in which God promis­es Abra­ham and Sarah a child but Sarah, con­vinced that their advanced ages have pre­clud­ed this possibil­ity, just laughs and laughs when she hears these words. But there is no mock­ery in Sarah’s laugh­ter and no bit­ter­ness. There is no neg­a­tiv­i­ty and not a shred of doubt. All that is reflect­ed in her peals of laugh­ter is sheer delight and joy. It is an expres­sion of faith, love and opti­mism that echoes through­out the gen­er­a­tions and mod­els a way of see­ing the world that all would do well to emulate. 

Full dou­ble page spreads in rich jew­el-like tones accom­pa­ny per­fect­ly tar­get­ed lan­guage and the result is a delight­ful pic­ture book per­fect for shar­ing with chil­dren of all ages and stages. It can also enrich school pro­grams and infor­mal youth activ­i­ties and can be used to spark guid­ed dis­cus­sions on a vari­ety of levels.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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