Page 113 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 43

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BIBLE
MILLER / AMERICAN JEWISH CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
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Figure 3
audience, and those published to be widely distributed. Many fa­
miliar Bible stories have been retold and illustrated by non-
Jewish authors and artists. Versions of the Bible other than Jew­
ish make some books inappropriate for Jewish children. The
most common stories are about Noah, Moses, and Jonah.
However, there are also picture book versions of familiar psalms
and biblical passages. The range of illustration, from traditional
to contemporary, can be found in biblical children’s stories. A
brief glance at the Noah stories from Palazzo, Singer (illus. by
Eric Carle) and Goffstein will give a sense of artistic variety. It is
possible to expose children to a feast of visual excellence along
with tradition. Here, as in biographies, liberties have been taken
with biblical events that might enhance the dramatic quality. The
popularity of Bible stories has decreased precipitously since the
early 1970’s, from ten to fifteen each year to less than five since
1974 (Figure 3). With national focus upon the child’s need for
institutional religion, this decline in publication seems surprising.
Certainly, a public demand for new editions would result in an