cover image The Golden Bell

The Golden Bell

Tamar Sachs, illus. by Yossi Abolafia, trans. from the Hebrew by Nancy Wellins. Kar-Ben, $17.99 (24p) ISBN 978-1-5415-2612-9

In 2011, an archeologist found a small gold bell near the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. Archeologists believe it could have once adorned the hem of the High Priest, who wore an elaborate garment described in the Book of Exodus. Debut author Sachs and Abolafia (A Fish for Mrs. Gardenia) have created a backstory for the discovery, centering on Itamar, the young son of a tailor in biblical-era Jerusalem. Having fetched the robe of the High Priest so that his father can mend it, Itamar discovers that one of the tiny bells is missing. Guessing that it fell off in transit, he frantically searches the roads and hills and visits the Claiming Stone, ancient Jerusalem’s version of a lost and found. The story’s uneven pacing makes for a less-than-satisfying read, but Abolafia’s straightforward cartooning strikes the right tone of earnestness, and anyone who’s lost something special will have sympathy for Itamar—while the final scene, at an archaeological site, raises the interesting idea that nothing is ever really lost. Ages 4–9. [em](Mar.) [/em]