A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there's nothing of concern here -- this book is a lyrical message of peace and tolerance. Children may be inspired to research the city and its religions.
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What's the story?
In paintings and brief, free-verse poetry, author and artist Mark Podwal describes Jerusalem, some of its religious history, and some of its legends. He tells of the burning of the Jewish temple, the death of Jesus, and the ascent of Muhammad, and of the monuments to each that remain in Jerusalem today.
Is it any good?
The text is lovely -- simple, gentle, merely hinting at the great mysteries behind the beliefs and legends. It only hints at the fighting and discord that rack the city now. The author focuses on the beauty of the city, and the hope engendered by a place where the three major monotheistic religions of the modern world "meet under the Jerusalem sky and merge their shadows."
The accompanying paintings, while beautiful, may not be as appealing to children as they are to adults. They are semi-abstract, impressionist renderings, lacking the kind of detail that draws kids to spend time poring over them. But the pictures and text make for an appealing book with an important, and nicely subtle, message.