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Cain and Abel : Finding the Fruits of Peace Hardcover – October 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580231233
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580231237
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 9.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #606,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sasso (In God's Name) visits one of the more disturbing moments within the Bible, the murder of Abel by his brother, Cain, to offer children a penetrating and ultimately hopeful response. She begins by citing a midrash: in the beginning, a single tree could bear many different kinds of fruit, but with the murder of Abel, the trees went into mourning, and "only in the world to come will the trees return to their full fruitfulness." Setting the scene with descriptions of "orapples, plumelons, and banangerines," etc., the author kindles the audience's interest. Then she focuses on Cain and Abel, "two children [who] walked in God's garden called Earth." At first the brothers are friends. Then Cain, a farmer, argues that God loves the farmer best; Abel argues that God favors shepherds like him. Tension between the brothers escalates until Cain fatally throws a rock at Abel and cannot undo the damage: "It was as if Cain had destroyed an entire world." Linking the brothers' anger to hatred to global warfare, Sasso tacitly reminds readers that peace begins with the individual. Rothenberg's folk-art-style compositions support the open, child-friendly tone, and while the portraits of the brothers can be stiff and static, her visual interpretations of abstract ideas (worlds destroyed, God speaking with Cain) are strikingly imaginative. Her final scene, a bucolic fantasy, includes a detail of two children sharing a copy of Cain and Abel, a powerful suggestion that knowledge and understanding can breed peace. Ages 5-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3--In this retelling of the Bible story, a rabbi shows how the idyllic world of "the first children" was marred and then destroyed by jealousy, unkind words, anger, and, finally, murder. A passage from Midrash Tanhuma provides both narrative and artistic inspiration: "In the beginning God created each tree so that it could yield many different kinds of fruit." The story stirs readers' imaginations by describing pinangoes, limeberries, waterloupes, and plumelons growing on a single branch while the vividly colored, heavily outlined impressionistic artwork offers a powerful visual interpretation. The large format lends itself to Rothenberg's bold lines and streaks of color while allowing plenty of space for the text and borders. In the final pages, the author and illustrator move beyond traditional Jewish sources to show how angry words and killing became war, destroying entire worlds. They effectively conclude this parable by returning to the image of orapples and banangerines growing from a single tree in a time of peace when "in God's garden called Earth, all will be good." Not since In God's Name (Jewish Lights, 1994) has Sasso crafted so child-centered a story capable of engaging the imaginations and spiritual intelligence of readers. Children in all types of schools and libraries will be touched by it.

Linda R. Silver, Jewish Education Center of Cleveland, OH

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


More About the Author

Sandy Eisenberg Sasso is the author of several nationally acclaimed children's books, including God's Paintbrush, Adam and Eve's First Sunset and In God's Name. Publisher's Weekly selected two of her books, But God Remembered and Noah's Wife; The Story of Na'amah as Best Books of the Year. Abuelita's Secret Matzahs is the winner of the 2005 Sugarman Family Children's Book Award and the 2006 Best Books of Indiana Award. A book for adults, Midrash: Reading the Bible with Question Marks, has been issued in paperback in 2013. She is the 2004 recipient of the Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children's Literature. The Shemah in the Mezuzah won the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Best Illustrated Children's Book. She co-edited the Winter 2014 CCAR Journal entitled, A Symposium on Sacred Teaching and Spiritual Learning. Her latest book is Creation'sFirst Light. She is currently the Director of the Religion, Spirituality and the Arts Initiative at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Colleen C on May 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is gorgeous, stunning, and absolutely wonderful. I bought it when my older son was almost five and he had a new(ish) little brother who was just starting to crawl around and make trouble. I read it to Thomas and the second I finished the last line he cried "READ IT AGAIN!" I've never seen him so engrossed in a story.

The wonderful thing Sasso does with the Cain and Abel story is talk about the depth of love the brothers had for each other before a misunderstanding made them both hatefully angry. She also illustrates wonderfully how the earth itself went into mourning over this first killing--the trees, which used to bear many different kinds of fruit at once (Orangeapples, banangerines etc!) were reduced to offering only a single kind of fruit. Dealing with the depth and complexities of sibling relationships--and how they shape the world as a whole-- in a way that children can take in is a gift--Sasso is amazing. I highly recommend all her work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen S. Bostrom on November 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Sandy Eisenberg Sasso is a gifted writer, and once again has written a book that is beautifully done and inspirational. The book is timely, in that it tells about the destructiveness of anger but also the reality of hope. I recommend this book for all ages. It's a wonderful way to teach children but also to teach adults about the ramifications of their actions.
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By mamamo on February 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Sandy Sasso is just such a talented woman! Not only is she an accomplished Rabbi and mother, she also writes wonderful books for children. I am a huge fan of her work. While I am not a fan of parables, Sasso brings aliveness and whimsy to this one with her inventions like "banangerines" and "waterloupe" on the tree that produced many kinds of fruits. The Chegal-esque illustrations are vivid, and layout is well-paced and support the unfolding of the story. I like that there is a section of discussion questions at the back to support conversations about the book.
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