The Melody

Oded Burla, Assaf Ben­har­roch (Illus­tra­tor), Ilana Kur­shan (Trans­la­tor)

  • Review
By – May 2, 2022

The Melody is a mag­i­cal, lyri­cal alle­go­ry that shares a song’s search for some­thing or some­one to sing it. The melody asks the moun­tains, the trees, the stones, and the riv­er if they could use a melody, but each one declines. Then the melody asks a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent ani­mals, includ­ing a crow, a mole, and a horse, if they would like a new melody to sing, but each of them has its own rea­son for not want­i­ng to share it. Final­ly, the melody sees a moth­er rock­ing her baby in the gar­den. It enters her heart and the moth­er sings the beau­ti­ful song.

The Melody is an Eng­lish trans­la­tion of a bed­time sto­ry writ­ten by one of the founders of children’s lit­er­a­ture in Hebrew, Oded Burla. It is based on a sto­ry from the Deuteron­o­my, where the Torah is pre­sent­ed to the nations of the world, but all reject it except for the Jews at Sinai. While this sweet tale grows out of Jew­ish tra­di­tion, the les­son of shar­ing a gift, whether through song, sto­ry, art, or any tal­ent at all, tran­scends religion.

The warm and col­or­ful illus­tra­tions invite the read­er to set­tle in bed, cud­dle with their favorite lit­tle per­son, and share this lyri­cal story.

Paula Chaiken has worked in a vari­ety of capac­i­ties in the Jew­ish world — teach­ing in reli­gious school, curat­ing at the Sper­tus Muse­um and fundrais­ing for the Fed­er­a­tion — for more than twen­ty years. She also runs a bou­tique pub­lic rela­tions con­sult­ing firm and enjoys read­ing all sorts of books with her three sons.

Discussion Questions