THE MOSES BASKET

Jenny Koralek, Author, Pauline Baynes, Illustrator , illus. by Pauline Baynes. Eerdmans $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5251-9

Invitingly told in words and pictures, the story of Moses among the bullrushes receives a streamlined, child-friendly adaptation. While passages from Exodus precede the narrative, Koralek (Night Ride to Nanna's) immediately homes in on the drama, so that it is up to presiding adults to supply a biblical or cultural context. The author briefly describes the Hebrew slaves in Egypt and the fearful Pharaoh's decree that their baby boys be cast into the river, and then she introduces the mother determined to save her son by weaving him a boatlike basket. Her telling takes a universal approach, highlighting the heroism of the baby's sister, Miriam, in her role as the baby's protector, and the kindness of the Pharoah's daughter, whose sympathy for an abandoned Hebrew baby saves the infant who will become Moses. Baynes, best known for her illustrations for the original Narnia books, delivers masterly paintings that specifically evoke ancient Egyptian art in their perspectives but that retain a contemporary sense of color and motion. Presented in a range of sizes and laid out in various ways, the illustrations fluidly and spontaneously advance the story. Ages 3-up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/29/2003
Release date: 08/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
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