Page 174 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 18

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AME R I CAN J EW I S H J U V E N I L E BOOKS
1959-1960
B
y
D
o r o t h y
K . K
r i p k e
I
N AN AGE which is space-bent and science-minded, it is not
surprising that fact takes precedence over fiction. But the
extent to which this is true in this year’s American juveniles of
Jewish interest is nonetheless startling.
The statistics tell the story. Of thirty-eight books considered
(seven of which are treated as one unit), thirty-four are in the
category of non-fiction. There are twelve books on the holidays,
eight biographies, four volumes of Bible stories, four volumes
on Israel (one of which is fiction), one prayerbook, one text-
book, one volume on archeology, one on the Jerusalem zoo, one
on the Jewish woman, and two volumes of general information.
The remaining three, as well as one of the books on Israel, are
original fiction.
Of the fiction, one volume must be discounted because its
only claim to Jewish attention is the fact that the author,
characters, and locale are all Jewish. Another is more properly an
inter-faith or good-will book than a specifically Jewish story.
This leaves us with
L i t t le Queen of Sheba,
written by an Israeli
author and published in English translation in America, and
The Mystery of the Missing Chalah.
The Jewish child would
surely welcome more good books of fiction with a Jewish motif
and message.
This does not, however, in any sense minimize the value of
the books of non-fiction. Although this year’s crop shows a
dearth of fiction, there is, happily, a wealth of material to in-
spire, instruct, engross, and reward the young reader. Significant
progress has been made, moreover, in appeal to the child in the
areas of format, art-work, and relevance to his world of interest
and experience. Even in those cases where the writing seems
pedestrian, there is a sincere and dedicated attempt to transmit
the tradition palatably to the next generation.
A
l t m a n
, A
dd ie
R
i c h m a n
.
The Jewish chilcTs Bible stories. Revised and
enlarged ed. Illus. by Resa Babin. New York, Bloch, 1960. 138 p.
Bible stories simply told for the young child to read or hear,
(ages 7-10)
162