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The Story of Shabbat Hardcover – April 5, 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cone (Who Knows Ten?: Children's Tales of the Ten Commandments) updates her 1966 The Jewish Sabbath in a lively edition newly illustrated by Lisker (When the Beginning Began). Viewing Shabbat through a variety of lenses, the text ranges gracefully through history, ritual and folklore. Cone can be compelling and evocative: "A person thinks a little bigger on the Sabbath. A person stands a little taller on the Sabbath. A person is a person on the Sabbath." She admirably streamlines complex ideas. For example, she describes a poem about a prince turned into a dog by a witch's spell, except that he is restored to his human form every Sabbath. Then she adds: "The poem was not just a fairy tale, for Jews often felt persecuted in those days. Only on the Sabbath did those Jews feel like themselves again." Lisker's acrylics, rendered in dense, saturated colors and bold shapes, have an edginess that serves the book well when brought to bear on historical subjects, such as the Jews' Egyptian servitude, but the contemporary family scenes are problematic. Readers may appreciate her efforts to show diversity, as in a picture of what appears to be a Falasha family eating challah. Lisker's fans, however, may miss the folkish warmth and exuberance of her previous works: many of the modern celebrants here seem less reverent or uplifted than simply glum. Instructions for making challah and a challah cover conclude the volume. Ages 7-10. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4-Originally published in 1966, this newly illustrated explanation of the Jewish observance of Shabbat retains an old-fashioned style that is awkward to modern readers. Though descriptions of the holiday and its traditions are well done, Cone's attempts to explain the emotions it invokes fall flat. She includes several briefly told folktales whose purposes are not always clear, and she uses words that children are unlikely to know, such as "fallow" and "barren," without giving definitions. In some places the text is repetitive to a fault ("-Sabbath-begins with candlelighting. With candlelighting and blessing. First the candlelighting, then the blessing-"), while in others it provides insufficient explanations. The bold, childlike acrylic illustrations imply a young audience, which the complexity of the language and concepts seem to belie. The pictures are also uneven: some work quite well, while others appear awkward and amateurish. Eyeglass lenses change from blue to pink to white, Egyptians look like circus strongmen, and perspective changes from page to page. Lisker provides a somewhat multicultural feel by portraying a black family at the Sabbath table. Despite the need for more children's books on this subject, most libraries will want to pass on this one.
Amy Lilien-Harper, Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (April 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060279443
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060279448
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,656,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This informative book tells how the Jewish Sabbath, called Shabbat, originated. It also tells how it has been celebrated at different times and how to celebrate it now. The new illustrations by Emily Lisker include even more Jewish traditions. They are bright and clear paintings, acrylics on canvas. At the end there is a recipe for challah and instructions on how to make a challah cover.
This is a very good book for children who are Jewish or who want to learn more about the Jewish Sabbath.
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