Hebrew is a very, very old language. It was spoken in ancient Israel many thousands of years ago, and has been kept alive for centuries by Jews and scholars. Modern Hebrew was the dream and work of a man named Eliezer Ben-Yehuda. He made new words from ancient words and gave Hebrew speakers a way to say modern words such as ice cream, bicycle, and airplane.
This book is a child's introduction to modern Hebrew; but more than that, it is a joyous portrait of a very special family. Its heroine, Gabi, shares in the activities of five-year-olds everywhere; she dances, she pretends, she dresses up, she helps with the baby. Her exuberance about her own life bounces off every page, and the enthusiasm and warmth of her family surround her, and the reader, with love.
charmingly presents the Hebrew alphabet through vibrant illustrations. Each page gives a Hebrew letter, its name, a Hebrew word containing the letter, and the English translation. The detail-rich pictures also provide young readers with plenty of discovery and storytelling opportunities about ema (mom) Hannah, abba (dad) Matan, and children, Uri, Gabi, and baby Lev as they go about their daily activities. An excellent “sharing” book for both Jewish and non-Jewish youngsters.
Beginning the alphabet with “bathtub” (“ahm-BAHT-yah”) and choosing “monster (“me-FLEHT-zeht”) for the letter mem help the alphabet unfold with a smile. The rest of the alef-bet is filled with socks and feathers, with fish and feet. By the time you reach tav for baby (TEE-nook”), where the illustration is complete with stained diapers, you may wish that there were more than 22 letters.
—New York Times Book Review
Learn the Hebrew Alphabet. This easy to understand, well-illustrated book is perfect for beginners.
Here is a unique alphabet book that celebrates the ancient Hebrew language. A fictional family portrayed going through their daily activities, as modern Hebrew words are presented.
—East Grand Rapids Weekly
This is a useful language primer that captures universal concepts and provides the opportunity for individual and group discussion.
—School Library Journal
In exuberant illustrations with vibrant colors vigorously defined by agile, rough lines, Edwards depicts an endearingly ordinary family engaged in everyday activities—helping Dad with the laundry, imaginative play, outings—with the oldest of three children taking part in everything from his wheelchair. Phonetic pronunciation is given for each Hebrew letter and the word it initializes, also given in English.
What is exceptional here is the complex emotional subtext that Edwards’ gouache illustrations carry. They portray warm life in a modern family that includes a girl, her toddler brother and her older brother, who travels by wheelchair. The feelings invested in the pictures bring the characters to life. The robust, effervescent girl, always wearing polka dots somewhere on her person, hangs her handmade butterflies in the bedroom, mothers a family of toy monkeys and looks at the moon with her brothers and father, who is wearing a sweater with a thunderbird motif. It is a rare thing for an alphabet book to evoke such feeling in the reader as this one does.
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
Like the artist's Chicken Man
and A Baker's Portrait
, this has an informal warmth that will endear it to kids who already know or want to learn the Hebrew alphabet … Clear, artful, and involving, this is a model of what foreign-language alphabets should be.
—Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books