Thursday, February 9, 2012

Semitic Tales: Bed-time Stories for Christians

Semitic Tales: Bed-time Stories for Christians, written and illustrated by Michael Ben Zehabe, is part of a package of materials created to teach Hebrew. The complete package contains this book along with a bookmark, flash cards, and other supporting materials. The author refers to it as “accidental Hebrew” because the reader will absorb the language without even trying, or accidentally, by simply reading the stories. The author tells us the series of materials is designed to teach someone “how to read the book of Jonah (in the original Hebrew) in about six months.”

The book is comprised primarily of 22 short stories adapted from the book of Jonah. Each story takes up no more than a page and contains at least two Hebrew words. A Word Key is given on the page preceding each story. The words in the Word Key are written in Hebrew, given a number, spelled phonetically and defined. In the first three stories, the vocabulary words are used only once in the story. Later stories incorporate them more freely.

Pencil sketches are included at the beginning of each story. Some of them are very simple; some are more detailed.

What I Like: The Bible-based stories in the book contain words written in Hebrew. This is the first Hebrew language book I’ve read. I confess I didn’t spend much time with the stories, but if I had, I’m sure I would have picked up some Hebrew without really trying.

The author certainly has a command of the Hebrew language which is evident in the way the book is set up and the words are incorporated into the story. He also provides a Summary Review at the end of the book which explains how the reader will learn more than just the Hebrew language by reading the stories. For instance, one story includes the value of different coins that were in use during Biblical times, another story incorporates a lesson about chemistry.

What I Dislike:
The author uses some vocabulary words that are probably above the level of most children’s abilities to comprehend, even in this age group. Most of the stories would require quite a bit of explanation.

There are punctuation and layout issues throughout the text. The author has a tendency to add commas where they shouldn’t be, and many of the paragraphs are not indented as they should be. Neither of these are big issues, but I thought they should be mentioned.

Also, I was given only this book to read and review. Since it’s part of a larger package, I can’t really determine how well the book relates to the rest of the course materials.

Overall Rating: Good.

Age Appeal: 9-12.

Publisher Info: Shema Publishing Company, 2011; ISBN: 9781463590031; Paperback, 45 pages, $39.95.

Buy now at $39.95!NOTE: The price given is for the whole package of teaching materials, not just for this book.

Special Info: Read about the author.

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1 comment:

Barakah Yentl said...

Cute idea. Christians struggle with this.