Reading of Noah, Artists, Holidays And Einstein, Too

By Aliza Phillips

Published April 04, 2003, issue of April 04, 2003.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Haggada may be Passover’s great book, but it’s not the only great thing to read this season. The start of spring brings with it a new stash of stories for all your bundles of joy.

For the younger set, children’s publishing giant Scholastic gives us “The Animals Went in Two by Two: A Noah’s Ark Pop-up Book” by Jan Pienkowski, a rhyming tale that can be sung to the tune of “The Ants Go Marching.” With brightly colored paper cut-outs and curious animals finding themselves in curious binds (“The animals went in four by four/ The great stegosaurus got stuck in the door”), this book is sure to keep the little ones singing through bedtime.

“My First Shabbat Book” (DK Publishing) uses the Sabbath as an opportunity for a number of “very first lessons”: There’s counting, via the seven days of creation, which also provide a chance for instruction in zoology and geology. The book walks the young reader through baking a challah and through appropriate activities for the seventh day: i.e. praying, family time and, of course, reading.

Emily Sper’s “The Passover Seder” (Scholastic) lets the young Seder guest “touch, turn, open, and learn” about what is for many families the ritual event of the year. Sper’s interactive book has moving cut-outs on every page that take the reader through the Seder, letting your child “break” the middle matzo, “spill” a drop of wine for each of the 10 plagues and “open” the door for Elijah. Bilingual bonus: The book includes the Hebrew words for key Seder terms, along with a transliteration and an English translation.

Children slightly older will enjoy the lushly illustrated “The Bachelor and the Bean” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) with text and pictures by first-time author Shelley Fowles. In a nice change from the usual Ashkenazic-centric fare, she retells a Moroccan-Jewish folk tale about a magic pot. When an irritable bachelor drops his last bean down a well, an imp appears with the pot, which he guarantees will give the grump any food he desires. The bachelor’s possession inspires a fit of jealousy in an old lady who steals the pot, and in one of life’s magical twists, the bachelor’s heart as well.

Forward contributor Lore Segal brings “Morris the Artist” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) to the children’s book scene, with animated, larger-than-life pictures by Boris Kulikov.

Our hero Morris is a painter-in-the-making, forced by his mother to tear himself away from his art to buy a birthday present for his friend Benjamin. When Morris arrives at Benjamin’s birthday party, present in tow, his is loath to give it up — until he realizes he is missing out on all the fun. Once Morris turns his present over and joins in, a fabulous, art-filled time is had by all.

For older kids — teenagers — Ze’ev Rosenkranz’s “The Einstein Scrapbook” (Johns Hopkins University) is packed with wisdom about the man who understood the universe. The book is filled with black-and-white photographs of the father of relativity, along with reprints of his letters. “Scrapbook” puts a human face on a legend and, like the holiday of Passover, chronicles an era in the history of the Jewish people.

Find us on Facebook!
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.