cover image Anna & Solomon

Anna & Solomon

Elaine Snyder, illus. by Harry Bliss. FSG/Ferguson, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-30362-4

Snyder is Bliss’s mother-in-law, and together they’ve created a wonderful retelling of a family legend. “Once—and not once upon a time, because this is a true story,” writes Snyder, a young Jewish couple (Snyder’s grandparents) were married in turn-of-the-century Vitebsk, Russia. The future looks bright: he’s handsome and a sought-after house painter; she’s a beauty with a head for numbers. But when a pogrom devastates Vitebsk’s Jewish quarter, the couple knows they must leave for America. With only enough money for one passage, it’s decided that Solomon will go first, work hard, and then send for Anna. How the couple’s reunion is postponed again and again, then finally realized, is a story of selflessness, almost superhuman patience, and love conquering all. Bliss (Bailey at the Museum) is in wonderful form; instead of sentimental sepia scenes, he gives readers a sense of emotional immediacy and a much bigger picture. Anna and Solomon are the stars of this story, but they also embody millions of others, who yearned, strived, and gambled everything on the promise of a better life. Ages 4–8. [em]Illustrator’s agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (May) [/em]