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Light Hardcover – September 6, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Grade 1–4—Zalben's tale was inspired by a 16th-century midrash (a legend based on biblical text). Beginning with "emptiness, like a blank canvas," the Creator made the world and then planned to paint everything with a special light so that it would shine with goodness. The vessel in which the light was stored broke accidentally, sparks were scattered, and humans were created for the task of gathering the shards to make the world "complete and perfect," a project that has yet to be finished. The illustrations were created through mixed-media experimentation and the result is pretty but somewhat jumbled, combining static, detailed figures with dynamic, abstract forms, giving the story a somewhat stumbling pace. The text is rather vague and unfocused; this may be seen as part of its mystical charm, but it detracts from the empowering message inherent in the legend, that we are all part of the solution to the world's problems. There are few children's books that directly address the Jewish concept of tikkun olam ("repairing the world"), and this one has the advantage of being told in a universal way that will appeal to all faiths. While not completely successful in conveying its message of peace, this title does highlight important concepts and would make an excellent discussion starter.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
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About the Author
Jane Breskin Zalben is the author-illustrator of Paths to Peace and many other books. She lives in New York.