And There Was Evening and There Was Morning

Ellen Kahan Zager & Har­ri­et Cohen Helfand
  • Review
By – May 29, 2018

This new pic­ture book about the world’s cre­ation employs unusu­al, cre­ative illus­tra­tions to deliv­er its sto­ry. The tale is told through rhymes of mixed qual­i­ty. Fol­low­ing the struc­ture of Gen­e­sis, the authors sum up each of the sev­en days with an appro­pri­ate, clever adjec­tive. For exam­ple, day three is fruit­ful; day five is noisy. Each day’s illus­tra­tion cre­ative­ly incor­po­rates Hebrew text of that day’s cre­ation. Let­ters that spell out the word water” form the crests of waves; like­wise, the Hebrew word for star” is arranged in small, bright clus­ters. A glos­sary at the volume’s end will help read­ers unfa­mil­iar with the lan­guage to appre­ci­ate what an accom­plish­ment this is.

This is a wel­come new pic­ture book on a top­ic that has not had much press late­ly. Read­ers ages 4 to 7 will enjoy the sto­ry, and the art may even encour­age read­ers to draw Hebrew-based pic­tures of their own.

Ellen G. Cole, a retired librar­i­an of the Levine Library of Tem­ple Isa­iah in Los Ange­les, is a past judge of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards and a past chair­per­son of that com­mit­tee. She is a co-author of the AJL guide, Excel­lence in Jew­ish Children’s Lit­er­a­ture. Ellen is the recip­i­ent of two major awards for con­tri­bu­tion to Juda­ic Librar­i­an­ship, the Fan­ny Gold­stein Mer­it Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries and the Dorothy Schroed­er Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. She is on the board of AJLSC.

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