cover image Alef-Bet: A Hebrew Alphabet Book

Alef-Bet: A Hebrew Alphabet Book

Michelle Edwards. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-09724-0

A creative, messy and somewhat quirky family of five fills these pages with the peculiar paraphernalia of a simplehearted existence: a feather-flying pillow fight with a sibling monster; a confettied, make-believe bridal procession; an all-out frolic in the bathtub. Although Edwards's oil pastel illustrations evoke the joie de vivre of a loving family life, no theme connects her succession of 22 unrelated Hebrew words--leaving the reader feeling uncentered. In the unexpectedly dense introductory pages, the author attempts to introduce her fictitious family with names, characters and histories. But this is misplaced in a book that tells no story but merely labels pictures with Hebrew words and first letters along with their pronunciations. The book falls short in its reach toward youngsters with no prior links to the Hebrew language. However, in families where Hebrew is consistently taught, children will relish the animated artwork that lights up the graceful and vigorous forms of the Hebrew alphabet. Ages 4-up. (May)