The Jewish Eye
JPS Illustrated Children's Bible
JPS Illustrated Children's Bible
Retold by Ellen Frankel
Illustrated by Avi Katz
Jewish Publication Society, 2009
Reviewed by Anna Dogole - September 24, 2009
As the new year begins, we will once again begin to study and read the Chumash (the first five books of the Bible) from the beginning, making this a perfect time to introduce young children to the Bible. Often, however, simply reading to a child directly from the Bible can be off-putting, as the text is too esoteric or simply boring for their young minds. As well, new readers may also find the Bible a hard book to tackle when they are just starting to read on their own.
Therefore, you may want to begin your child's study of the Bible with an enjoyable and lively text such as the JPS Illustrated Children's Bible. This children's Bible contains a collection of Bible stories that have been recast into a narrative format by Ellen Frankel, a veteran storyteller. Throughout, Frankel has remained true, whenever possible, to the exact wording used in the 1985 JPS English translation (NJPS) of the Hebrew Bible. As well, Frankel has not modernized these stories, rather she has merely abridged or summarized them into a narrative format that makes the stories more understandable and enjoyable for children. The stories are further enlivened by an engaging and full-page illustration for each story, as well as a wealth of smaller illustrations scattered throughout the book, all created by the award-winning artist, Avi Katz.
These Bible stories are perfect for reading aloud to pre-readers, and older children will enjoy reading the stories to themselves, or out loud for the enjoyment of the entire family. The stories in this collection are drawn from throughout the entire Tanach, and feature such well-know stories as those about Adam and Eve, the Binding of Isaac, the Burning Bush, Samson, Hannah and her prayer for a child, David and Goliath, Jonah and the Whale, Ruth and Naomi, Daniel in the Lions Den and many more. In all, this marvelous book contains fifty-three stories that will not only entertain, but also educate and encourage readers to study the Bible in greater detail. As such, JPS Illustrated Children's Bible is a must for all Jewish households seeking an English-language children's Bible.
About the author: Ellen Frankel is the editor-in-chief of The Jewish Publication Society, the author of eight books, and a scholar of Jewish midrash and folklore. At the end of the JPS Illustrated Children's Bible she has included an Author's Notebook where she discusses what went into writing this children's Bible, why she made the choices she did when translating texts and deciding what to include and exclude from the narratives, and the many editing choices that she made while recrafting these stories for children.
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