Young Heroes of the Bible: A Book for Family Sharing

Kirk Douglas, Author, Dom Lee, Illustrator Simon & Schuster $15 (144p) ISBN 978-0-689-81491-4
If ever a book seemed designed to appeal to grandparents, this is it, from the fancy jacket with its solemn inset illustration of David to the octogenarian celebrity author. Happily, kids should like it, too. Douglas proves himself a much better storyteller here than in his previous children's work, The Broken Mirror, perhaps because this time he is working from a script--accounts from the Bible and Midrash of the childhood deeds of Abraham, Rebecca, Joseph, Miriam and David. Douglas keeps the characters appealingly lifelike even as he drives home their extraordinary contributions and virtues. He treats the biblical setting to contemporary embellishments that make the stories more accessible. For example, when Abraham poses skeptical questions about idols, his teacher tells him, ""Keep quiet, or you will have to stay after school."" (Similarly, Abraham's father, the owner of the biggest idol shop in Ur, has a sign reading, ""We have a god for every occasion""). The book does have flaws. Douglas sometimes plays a little too obviously to the audience (""The kids in the Bible were cool. They did great things and without any help from adults either""). There are also a few insipid moments (e.g., the author gives the origins of the name God as ""the word `good' with an o left out""). But on balance the writing is sturdy, and the generalized Judeo-Christian delivery will keep the audience wide. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/04/1999
Release date: 10/01/1999
Genre: Children's
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