And There Was Evening, And There Was Morning
The world began when God said “Light,”
And changed the world from dark to bright.
Gentle rhyming couplets tell the story of how God created the world, describing six days of work fashioning everything from seas and clouds to animals and people, to—finally—resting on Shabbat.
|Interest Level||Preschool - Grade 3|
|Reading Level||Grade 2|
|Genre||Fiction, Picture Books|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Kar-Ben Publishing ®|
|Number of Pages||24|
“Zager brings uncommon artistry to the proverbial story, inviting readers to peer more closely.”—Publishers Weekly
“In the beginning, the world was created one day at a time, according to the Creation story of the Jewish tradition. Day by day, employing simple, descriptive, accessible language, Helfand and Zager describe the first seven days of our world. The first five days are each recounted in a double-page spread, a four-line stanza in aabb verse followed by the mantra ‘and there was evening and there was morning’ with an appropriate description of the particular day, whether it be peaceful or noisy or lively. Day Six is described in three sets of verses, being the day on which a plethora of living things is added to those created on Day Five. Preceding the seventh day there is a quotation from the siddur, the Jewish liturgy, which describes the completion of God’s work. Therefore the seventh day is not numbered but named Shabbat, the holy day of rest. Zager’s imaginative, distinctive illustrations are composed from images created from Hebrew letters that reflect the words of each verse and are so intricately designed as to demand close, careful, and repeated perusal. The book is aimed at young Jewish readers, especially those who are studying or already know their “aleph-bet,” able to read Hebrew. But there is definite appeal across religions and culture in the format, concept, and construction of the work. A picture glossary provides a key to the illustrations and the Hebrew words they are derived from. Soaring, uplifting, and utterly beautiful."—starred, Kirkus Reviews
Jewish Book Council
“This new picture book about the world’s creation employs unusual, creative illustrations to deliver its story. The tale is told through rhymes of mixed quality. Following the structure of Genesis, the authors sum up each of the seven days with an appropriate, clever adjective. For example, day three is fruitful; day five is noisy. Each day’s illustration creatively incorporates Hebrew text of that day’s creation. Letters that spell out the word ‘water’ form the crests of waves; likewise, the Hebrew word for ‘star’ is arranged in small, bright clusters. A glossary at the volume’s end will help readers unfamiliar with the language to appreciate what an accomplishment this is.
This is a welcome new picture book on a topic that has not had much press lately. Readers ages 4 to 7 will enjoy the story, and the art may even encourage readers to draw Hebrew-based pictures of their own.” – Jewish Book Council
Chicago Jewish Star
“Graphically imaginative and poetically told, And There Was Evening And There Was Morning by Harriet Cohen Helfand, illustrated by Ellen Kahan Zager is the creation story in rhyme. Told simply in rhyming couplets that children 3 to 8 will understand, the illustrations are at once sophisticated yet appealing for youngsters. Since the world was created with words, the artist has used Hebrew letters to create her illustrations. The more one looks at them, the more delightful and creative they are. Truly a lovely rendering of creation.” – Chicago Jewish Star
Author, Illustrator: Ellen Kahan Zager
Ellen Kahan Zager has served the Jewish community in many ways with her creative abilities, from designing museum installations to serving on Federation and day school boards. Ellen lives in Baltimore.
Author: Harriet Cohen Helfand
Harriet Cohen Helfand has loved writing since she was a child. As a lover of the Hebrew language, she wanted to create a poem that reflects the words of creation in the Torah. Harriet lives in Baltimore.