Books by Jenny Koralek

Released: Feb. 1, 2009

When the powerful king of Persia, Ahasuerus, decides to take a wife, he chooses the beautiful Esther. Esther hides her Jewish identity on the advice of her cousin, Mordecai, who claims that many in the palace "hate Jews because we were once their enemies." The villainous Haman, Grand Vizier to the King, is angered by Mordecai, who refuses to bow before anyone but God. Haman's revenge is to convince the King to order all Jews killed. Esther then bravely intervenes, risking her own demise, to save her people. The classic biblical story, commemorated each year with the Jewish holiday of Purim and the reading of the Megillah (the Book of Esther), is told with lucid intrigue, painting a picture of an evil rogue outwitted by the wisdom and courage of a loving Queen. Multiple scenes across full-page spreads, done in deep pastel colors of blues, purples and reds, portray an assortment of tall, handsome characters with lean, pointy-chinned faces, long, flowing hair and dark skin. A well-composed and aesthetic interpretation for the younger set. (Picture book/religion. 3-5)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

The Old Testament story of Joseph and his many-colored coat is retold in a clear and straightforward fashion in this well-designed and brightly illustrated edition. The text of the story uses lots of dialogue and emotion, complemented by illustrations in jewel tones with a stylized, flattened aspect reminiscent of Egyptian art. Many of the illustrations use patterned borders or architectural features that add an interesting flavor and sense of motion, and dogs, cats, and other animals are also included on every page. Parents and Sunday School teachers will use this as a read-aloud for younger children, but it will also work well as independent reading for older children. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-10)Read full book review >
THE MOSES BASKET by Jenny Koralek
Released: Aug. 1, 2003

Koralek gracefully retells the Old Testament story of Moses in the bulrushes in lyrical prose complemented by stylized paintings from Baynes. The large, attractive illustrations often incorporate the conventions of ancient Middle Eastern art with patterned borders, earth tones, and the distinctive, flat portrayal of the human figure in profile associated with early artifacts. The illustrations also include well-researched details of daily life in Biblical times, such as costumes and hairstyles, as well as birds, animals, and plants of the region. The author creates believable dialogue for the main characters, effectively capturing the emotions of the mother and sister of Moses, who manage to save him through their own witty scheme. The thoughtful retelling and striking illustrations make this a fine choice for reading aloud in group settings. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-9)Read full book review >
NIGHT RIDE TO NANNA’S by Jenny Koralek
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

Coziness is what this picture-book journey is all about: after supper and a quick wash, Amy puts on her pajamas and climbs into the car for the trip to Grandma's. Baby Sam soon falls asleep in his car seat, but as the travelers leave tall city buildings behind for more softly lit suburban neighborhoods, Amy watches the flower market go by, waves to passing bus riders, and looks for familiar landmarks. "And then comes the bridge with all its little lights! The lights are in the water too, as if the river were full of sparklers." In Sutcliffe's velvety paintings, twilight becomes darkness beneath a scattering of stars, then warms to comfortable, golden tones as the journey ends with welcoming hugs and smiles, and for Amy a snug bed "that's always ready for her." Pure "snuggle down" reading, even for stay-at-homes, filled with the comforting familiarity that makes for lifetime memories. And a promising debut for the illustrator. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
CAT AND KIT by Jenny Koralek
Released: May 1, 1995

The British origins of this gorgeously illustrated tale are discernible in the presence of badgers and double-decker buses and in echoes of Rudyard Kipling's ``The Cat that Walked by Himself.'' Foundling Kit is taught the ways of the farm and the woods by wise old Cat, but is sent to town by a farmer as a present for his grandson. Kit pines in his new surroundings, missing his freedom to roam and the company of Cat, until the kind, observant grandson returns him to the farm. Koralek (The Boy and the Cloth of Dreams, 1994, etc.) describes a farm cat hunting at night in the woods: ``. . . with his head and his tail held high, walking alone, as most cats do, ready now and free to watch the wild and hunt for his food and protect his own.'' A sweet story rendered in quiet, almost stately prose, framed by the luxuriant vegetation and appealing animals in MacCarthy's trademark batik paintings. Bold visual elements make it an ideal book to share with a group. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 1994

A lyrical, dreamlike tale with more truth than many a realistic story. When the boy was born, his grandmother made him a cloth of dreams to ``keep the dark night things away...until he is big enough to forge his own courage.'' Now, going to visit his grandmother, he accidentally tears the precious cloth. His mother is sure that his grandmother will mend it, but the boy forgets to ask her. That night, nightmares—his first ever—send him scurrying across the dark hall to find her; and mend it she does, after he fetches ``threads from the sun and threads from the moon,'' which (with some trepidation) he reaches from the rooftop as the moon sets and, in dramatic simultaneity, the sun rises. And so he forges his own courage. The potent imagery is strengthened by the simplicity of the graceful telling, while Mayhew deepens the meaning with glowing night scenes in stained- glass colors and gentle, Ardizzone-like characterizations. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >