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A is for Abraham: A Jewish Family Alphabet (Sleeping Bear Alphabets) Hardcover – August 10, 2008
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—This entry in an ever-expanding alphabet series presents a facet of Jewish tradition for each letter. Large, colorful illustrations are accompanied by short rhymes and prose sidebars with additional information. The rhymes are uneven in quality and do not always scan well. They often require knowledge of Jewish life to be understood. The sidebars provide background and context to fill in these gaps, but even so, the information is limited and broadly simplified, and the book will best be appreciated by those familiar with Judaism. As in many such alphabet books, the facts are somewhat random. The author introduces an assortment of holiday customs, biblical or other famous Jewish figures, and cultural elements like klezmer music. Despite many references to Israel, the book has an American point of view; the letter "U" represents "U.S. of A. where half the world's Jews are living today." The luminous illustrations are the book's best feature. The realistic paintings show expressive individuals often captured in quiet moments of emotion. The modern scenes depict mainstream white American Jews with whom many non-Orthodox readers can identify. This is a solid choice for identity-building and education in Jewish settings, and it could be used to introduce Judaism if interpreted by a knowledgeable facilitator and combined with other titles.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
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With full-page illustrations and a four-line rhyme for each letter in the alphabet, this small picture book about Judaism is perfect for sharing with preschoolers. Older, independent readers, though, will also want this for the additional, detailed sidebars about Jewish religion, traditions, history, and people, from the Old Testament up to today. Each letter introduces a topic: E is for Ellis Island and for Einstein; F is for Five Scrolls; G is for Golem; and P is for Passover. A dramatic spread for N shows the animals ascending Noah’s ark. Michelson points out that there are many branches of Judaism, and the pages celebrate several different cultures. Most of the warm, colorful pictures show families at home observing traditions together on spreads such as the one for O, about Oneg Shabbat and Z, for Zayde. Like Z Is for Zeus (2008), another entry in the publisher’s Alphabet series, this is a title that adults and kids will want to share and talk about together. Preschool-Grade 4. --Hazel Rochman
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Top Customer Reviews
"Abe" is a sparkling gem, holding the promise of becoming a genuine classic of American Jewish children's literature.
- Judy Polan, Excellence in Journalism First Place Award Winner
(CT Society of Professional Journalists)
Excerpt from review in the Jewish Ledger of Western Mass (Dec. 5, 2009 issue)