cover image Blessed Are You: Traditional Everyday Hebrew Prayers

Blessed Are You: Traditional Everyday Hebrew Prayers

Michelle Edwards. HarperCollins Publishers, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10759-8

Twins Devra and David Levy and their baby brother enact 13 tableaux, each typifying an occasion for offering a particular Hebrew prayer--waking up, eating different foods, celebrating a holiday and so forth. Facing pages contain the prayers themselves, rendered in Hebrew, translated in non-sexist language and transliterated; a variety of borders heightens the visual interest and contributes a folksy feeling. For example, opposite a picture of the twins making challah is the prayer for bread, bordered with lines of braided dough and vignettes showing wheat growing in the fields. Some fluency in Jewish tradition is helpful--the picture illustrating a blessing for parents is simply bizarre unless you understand the clues marking it as a Purim scene, and there's neither glossary nor guide to the transliteration system (What's the difference between the ``ch'' in ``chessed'' and the ``kh'' in ``melekh''? Are the vowels short or long?). Edwards also goes a little too far in establishing the homeliness of her settings--the children's pudgy bodies, their unattractive features and their crudely exaggerated mouths are off-putting. Ages 3-up. (Mar.)