Sunday, April 11, 2010

Let My People Go!

Let My People GO!, written by Tilda Balsley, offers Moses' familiar story with an interactive twist. It covers the burning bush, God's call to Moses, and all ten plagues.

Written as a Readers Theater script, the book is great for use in "family Seders, library story time, and classroom dramatizations." The text provides five roles -- Narrator, Moses, Pharaoh, Egyptians, and Chorus -- each designated by a specific colored type. The narrator, for example, read the black type while the Moses character reads the purple.

Full-page illustrations by Ilene Richard fill the book with bold colors and simple, outline characters.

What I Like: The interactive format is wonderful. My kids (ages 4 and 6) really like this book! They enjoy reading the repetitive lines and shouting out specific parts. It's a good choice for beginning readers. I like that the book actually describes each of the ten plagues and includes Pharaoh's lies as part of the story. Many children's books only include a few of the plagues and rarely mention Pharaoh's deceptive tricks.

What I Dislike: The illustrations are not to my liking, but my kids didn't seem to mind them. I wish the author or publisher had included biblical references for further study and fact verification.

More importantly, the rhyme and meter are inconsistent. As a result, readers must often compensate by altering emphasized syllables. For example, I had to read Phar-AOH instead of PHAR-aoh.

Finally, the book marketing is misleading. It is advertized as a tool for Passover, but the text barely mentions the Passover. It simply says "... sons of Israel, I will spare. So listen now, you must prepare." It doesn't detail what the preparations were and no other mention is made. Furthermore, the back cover says the "rhyming tale takes readers through the Ten Plagues and the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt." Unfortunately, the book ends before the Jews even pack their bags. The zenith of the Exodus is the parting of the Red Sea, but it's not included in this book.

Overall Rating: Good

Age Appeal: 4-8

Publisher Info: Kar-Ben Publishing, 2008; ISBN: 0822572419; Paperback; $7.95

Buy it Now at for $7.95!

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Shirley Ann said...

This is probably one of the better known bible stories when it comes to teaching children.. Although I've found that a lot of children can't stay focused on a story that includes all ten of the plagues.. From your review it sounds like the format of the book corrected that problem with your children. I would be interested to see a book that can finally capture children's attention long enough for them to hear all ten plagues in one sitting... Then again, all kids are different (with different attention spans..)

Tanya said...

Shirley, this is good choice for that purpose! Even with the rhyme and meter being a little off, the format offers a wonderful interactive learning opportunity. My son, age 4, has a very short attention span with books. He loved this one! In fact, we read it three times back to back because he enjoyed "reading" it himself and shouting out the various roles within the script. You're right -- all kids are different, but this one worked for both of mine.