Dream Big, Laugh Often and More Great Advice from the Bible

  • Review
By – April 14, 2023

This beau­ti­ful­ly con­ceived book intro­duces some of the main char­ac­ters in the Bible to young read­ers. Easy-to-read para­graphs describe each of their per­son­al­i­ties, most impor­tant char­ac­ter­is­tics, major deeds, and sur­round­ing cir­cum­stances. Their lives reveal lessons that are short, pithy, and filled with wis­dom: Once you know some­thing, you can’t unknow it,” says Eve; ” … some­times a dream can be more than a dream,” teach­es Joseph; and Moses isn’t sure he has the abil­i­ty to lead but step[s] up” when the time is right.

Each depic­tion fea­tures illus­tra­tions with rich col­or and tex­ture, sym­bol­ism and humor, and col­lage, all of which add depth and mean­ing to the sto­ry. The illus­tra­tor gives Noah water wings, hints at his trav­els by way of a stamped post­card that forms his tor­so, and, when Sarah learns of her impend­ing moth­er­hood, rep­re­sents her laugh­ter in the form of wind-up teeth with tin­kling bells and eyes.

Some less­er-known bib­li­cal fig­ures, such Bal­aam and Eli­jah, are includ­ed, allow­ing for a wider and deep­er read­ing of the sto­ries than is usu­al­ly account­ed for. An authors’ note encour­ages chil­dren to think of learn­ing as a life­long endeavor.

Filled with cre­ativ­i­ty and joy, this book may inspire young read­ers to dig deep­er into Jew­ish lore and learn more about their mul­ti-lay­ered and price­less heritage.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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