Monday, April 12, 2010

Tower of Babel

Tower of Babel, written by A. S. Gadot and illustrated by Cecilia Rebora, re-tells the familiar Bible story with fresh humor and imagination.

The people who lived in the Valley of Shinar were just like us. They did jobs and had friends and enjoyed good food and conversation. Since they all spoke the same language, they had no trouble communicating. One day they decided to build a tower.

At first it was just something new and exciting to do. None of them had ever been to heaven before and they all wanted to see if they could get there. They immediately started building. They had parties at different milestones, like when they reached the 20th and 50th floors. When they finished the 100th floor, they congratulated themselves and decided they would rule the world! That's when lightning stuck and hail started to fall. When the storm ended, their languages were confused. "The architects spoke Dutch and the engineers, Chinese. The stone-cutters spoke French, the woodworkers, Japanese." They tried working together to finish the tower, but they simply couldn't understand one another. Soon everyone packed up and went different ways with the people they could understand. Only the old professor was left in the Valley of Shinar. "Years later, many, many years later, the tower became known as the Tower of Babel, because the building stopped when people couldn't talk to each other. They could only babble."

What I Like: It's funny and well-written! The author did a great job adding witty details to a rehearsed story. This book puts flesh on characters too often shown only in outline.

What I Dislike: The illustrations are not to my taste. They lack dimension and detail. Furthermore, the female characters have very pronounced breasts which I found unnecessary and my children found humorous.

More importantly, though, the story is inaccurate. It explains that people built the tower not because of specific motivation (though after they reached the 100th floor they planned to rule the earth) but simply because they were bored. Furthermore, God is never mentioned in this book. No Bible references are provided. The whole story is told more like a funny folk tale than an account from Scripture. As a result, my kids missed the point. In fact, my daughter felt sorry for the professor at the end because no one helped him finish the tower to Heaven.

Overall Rating: As a stand-alone children's book: Good. As a resource for teaching Biblical truths: Ho-hum.

Age Appeal: Amazon suggests 9-12, but I recommend 4-8.

Publisher Info: Kar-Ben Publishing, 2010; ISBN: 082259952X; Paperback; $7.95

Buy it Now at Amazon.com for $7.95!



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2 comments:

Shirley R. said...

Thats a little discouraging that the author neglected to present the biblical principals that the story of babel was recorded for. I think there is a lack of materials for this specific story and it would be nice to see what someone could truly do with it. (Accurately, and without overdoing the illustrations..)

Jess Horwitz said...

Thank you for reviewing Tower of Babel, Tanya! We appreciate CCBR's feedback on our books. And thank you for making me aware of the incorrect age range on Amazon; you're correct, it is for younger readers. It has been fixed.