Book Review | JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible
by Ellen Frankel

Score: 4

illustrated by Avi Katz.

© 2009, Jewish Publication Society.

I have learned over the years not to expect too much from Children’s Bibles.  Normally, I am looking at “Old Testament” Children’s Bibles.  I often find the stories too short and uninteresting, having been over-adapted to fit into the small space allotted. In some cases, I find the story selection to be somewhat unusual and have to ponder why they included the particular stories that they did. Then, of course, there are the illustrations that can range from ultra-modern to neo-classic.

Fortunately, Ellen Frankel and JPS have decided to put their efforts to the task of providing the younger members of the Jewish community with a Children’s Bible they can truly call their own. With great thought, careful editing, deliberate selection, and fabulous artwork, The JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible will certainly become a classic.The stories are well told and very true to the original texts. The selection of stories is excellent and hits all major Biblical highlights. Avi Katz’s illustrations are breathtaking and bring each story to life with vibrant colors, vivid detailing and exceptional expression.  Each story contained in this volume would make a nice story time selection or as a reading during a Kabbalat Shabbat service. Many could be adapted for participatory reading or plays.

The author’s notebook in the back of the Bible is an insightful description of how Ms. Frankel adapted the material and chose the stories she chose. A list of the Books of the Hebrew Bible detailing which stories from which books are contained in this Bible follows.

Overall, this is an excellent Children’s Bible. It would make a wonderful housewarming gift for a new family, a unique gift for a child starting Hebrew School or an interesting baby gift. It certainly deserves a place in every Jewish library.

Grade Level: 3rd – 8th

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