An uplifting poetic journey through the beginning of the Book of Genesis.

BOOK OF THE BEGINNING

Sung brings the Creation story to life in a heartfelt work of narrative poetry for children.

The author writes that he “believes everyone should have the opportunity to hear about the bible, especially at a young age.” To that end, this book guides its audience through the first seven days of the world, according to the Book of Genesis. It straightforwardly recounts the familiar story of God’s formation of heaven and Earth from the darkness, and the division of night from day. It then explores God’s separation of heaven and Earth and land and sea on the second and third days, respectively. On the fourth day, he creates the sun, moon, and stars to illuminate the skies, and on the fifth day, he populates the skies and seas with creatures of his design. The sixth day brings forth land-based animals as well as man and woman, to whom God entrusts dominion and stewardship of Creation. On the final day, God deems his work complete, deeming the Sabbath holy and resting. The text is accompanied by page after page of colorful, exuberant crayon illustrations, reminiscent of children’s art. Sung uses poetry to provide a simple and inspiring retelling of the story of Creation. While adhering closely to biblical text, he blends a variety of rhyme schemes as well as free verse elements in a manner that will engage early readers. Clever verses, such as the slant rhyme “The word becomes tangible / God makes all sorts of wild animals,” use familiar language that most youngsters will be able to understand. The book draws upon biblical verses from the English Standard Version, King James Version, New International Version, and other editions, making it accessible for many Christian denominations, and interweaves these references seamlessly, emphasizing the continuity in the Gospel narratives. Overall, Sung offers an entertaining work that will ignite young imaginations while providing a solid introduction to one of the Bible’s most famous stories.

An uplifting poetic journey through the beginning of the Book of Genesis.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-973690-39-9

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2021

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Nevertheless, it fills a gap in the marketplace, hopefully paving the way for stronger fare.

SAM AND CHARLIE (AND SAM TOO!)

Not even the worthy subject matter can overcome the herky-jerky writing in this rare glimpse into everyday Jewish life.

Over four short chapters, a boy and a girl become good friends in spite of misunderstandings. When Sam overhears that the new kid next door is named Charlie, he’s initially thrilled to find a playmate. To his surprise, he discovers that both Charlie and her little sister Sam (or “Sam Too”) are girls. That makes little difference, though, since Charlie’s a stellar buddy. The chapter on “Sharing” tests that new friendship when both Sam and Charlie crave the last prune hamentaschen. They’re closer after Sam aims to cheer up Charlie on “Sick Day,” but “The Bad Haircut” undoes that good with a callous comment. Finally on “I’m Sorry Day,” aka Yom Kippur, the two apologize, and hilarity ensues. The text’s level of difficulty is ideal for the emerging reader taking baby steps into chapter books, but even the great subject matter (the everyday lives of Jewish kids) can’t make up for abrupt transitions between those chapters, lines like “Friendship is the best medicine,” and odd lessons on losing on purpose to keep a friendship going. Tambellini’s illustrations complement the action beautifully but cannot save the weak writing.

Nevertheless, it fills a gap in the marketplace, hopefully paving the way for stronger fare. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8075-7213-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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The simple Talmudic lesson has resonance for our contemporary world.

A RAINY DAY STORY

A conundrum is introduced through a parable from the Talmud about a rabbi who questions God on the world’s need for rain balanced against man’s comfort.

Rabbi Hanina is enjoying himself on a walk when a thunderstorm begins and renders him “soaked to the bone!” Drenched and upset, he asks God, “Master of the Universe! The whole world is happy, and Hanina is suffering?” The rain suddenly stops, and the rabbi continues home, changes into dry clothes, and prepares a soup. He’s finally comfortable, but he does not eat when he looks outside to notice that all’s not well. “The ground was parched, the trees were thirsty, the river was dry, and the frogs were staring at the sky longingly.” Once again he questions God: “Master of the Universe! The whole world is suffering, and Hanina is happy?” The thunder and lightning resume along with the downpour while the satisfied rabbi stays comfortably warm inside enjoying both the soup and the sweet-smelling spring rain. Soft, lovely illustrations depict a gray-bearded, pale-skinned sage and his simple abode set in a Middle Eastern garden. The subtle significance of the rabbi’s questions and his ultimate revelation may well encourage discussion—even, perhaps, about our current climate change concerns. The text of the original story from the Babylonian Talmud is printed in both Hebrew and English in the backmatter. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 58.3% of actual size.)

The simple Talmudic lesson has resonance for our contemporary world. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5415-6038-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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