Editorial Review

Association of Jewish Libraries

Cover: In the Jerusalem Forest

Inspired by “The Pond,” a Hayim Nahman Bialik poem, this lovely picture book tells of a mother and daughter’s walk in a forest near Jerusalem. As they walk past a small pond, the girl observes their reflections in the pond, looking the same, but upside down. As the wind picks up, the girl becomes wary, wondering where the “upside-down forest” went and asking her mother for a hug. When the sun returns, the world is wonderful again. Illustrated with what appears to be oil pastels and watercolors, the full page and double page depictions of the water’s edge, the trees and flowers, and fish and birds convey a sense of calm that is dispelled as the wind goes whoosh and the upside-down reflections are lost. There is much to discuss in this deceptively simple story: how can you tell that the girl and her mother have become worried? Look carefully at the pictures of the water and sky. Can you tell where each begins and ends? Examine the way the mother’s dress looks like it blends in with the trees, flowers, and grass near the water. Do the mother and daughter “look the same, like two drops of rain?” The book concludes with an author’s note about Hayim Nahman Bialik, and an explanation of the meaning of the poem upon which the book is based. The statement that the poem “is a beautiful exploration of the relationship between Torah and reality” leaves one wondering if the author read an entirely different poem!

Products Reviewed

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In the Jerusalem Forest
  • Available in limited formats
  • Soon! Fall 2024
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