Monday, March 5, 2007

David and Goliath

There are many stories for children written about the Bible character, David, as he is a main figure in several books of the Old Testament and the favorite of many children (as well as adults). David and Goliath, written and illustrated by prolific author/illustrator Jean Marzollo, tells the well-known story of David's battle with the giant Goliath, taken from the Scriptures 1 Samuel 17. Children unfamiliar with the story will enjoy the suspense of the story; those who already know it, will enjoy this retelling.

What I Like: I liked Jean Marzollo's writing style. She tells about the battle, and what leads up to it, with an emphasis on what David thought about the whole thing. I think kids can relate to that. And, she uses lots of lively, descriptive language throughout the book. In the introduction, she explains that David was the author of many psalms, that are like poems or songs. So, she included verses from the 23rd Psalm as part of the text. The verses are highlighted in blue ink to set them apart from the rest of the text.

At first, I didn't like the illustrations. The Bible story is retold, in part, in the usual manner, with normal-sized print on the page. Some of the illustrations are what you'd expect, pictures on the page to illustrate the story. But the storyline is interspersed with comic-book-like illustrations. The characters in the illustrations "talk" to each other, like they do in comic books. I thought they made the page "too busy." But, I've changed my mind: I now think kids would enjoy the story being told this way. And, I know they would enjoy the bold colors, which I do like.

Also, there are little animals that run across the bottoms of each page. The pages of David and Goliath are decorated with lambs because, as the author explains, "David was a shepherd." The lambs also comment on the action depicted on each page. I think young children would enjoy these extra illustrations.

What I Dislike: Nothing, now!

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: 4-8.

Publishing Info: Little, Brown and Company, 2004; ISBN 0316741388; Hardback, $15.95.

Buy now at Amazon for $12.44.

Special Info: David and Goliath is just one book in a series of books about Biblical characters, all written and illustrated by Jean Marzollo. Other books in the series are: Jonah and the Whale (and the Worm); Ruth and Naomi; Miriam and Her Sister; and Daniel in the Lion's Den. Visit the author's website.

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