This book will be read more than once, and that seems only appropriate, as Jews are never finished reading the Torah.
In a traditional synagogue, the congregation spends an entire year reading the Hebrew Bible out loud, immediately flipping back to the first chapter to start again. So it makes a sort of sense that David’s family has spent many generations creating the same Torah scroll out of disparate parts. One part has been hidden during World War II and needs repair. Other sections of the parchment are damaged in a fire and in Hurricane Katrina. David’s grandfather was a scribe—a sofer—and David learns from him, splicing pieces of the damaged scrolls together as an adult to make a new one. “This is a very unusual scroll,” David tells the congregation. “I wrote part of it. Other sofers, in other places and at other times, wrote other parts.” Even less-than-traditional Jews may be moved as the scroll is passed from one family member to another. David teaches his grandchildren to write Hebrew letters and reads the first lines of the scroll to his granddaughter: “In the beginning….” Even the most trivial sentences in the book start to seem oddly beautiful. A passage about scrap drives becomes profound: Nothing is ever lost or wasted; nothing—and no one—is ever unimportant.
Readers may close the cover thinking that a picture book—like a Torah scroll—can be essential. (Picture book. 5-9)