From School Library Journal
Grade 5–9—Eight women of the Bible star in 10 imaginative stories. Eve speaks the language of the animals and the Earth and dares to speak to God, asking unanswered questions. Naamah, Noah's wife, learns to talk to the animals, too, persuading them to cooperate on the ark. Sarai is tormented by her brother for mistreating the family god, yet she inspires Avram to smash his father's idols; and 90-year-old Sarah awaits the birth of her first child. Rebecca finds a husband, and then hears God foretell her twin sons' futures. Leah envies Rachel her beauty and Jacob's love. Rachel worries about the future of her sole son, Joseph, and helps Jacob with husbandry. Dina suffers (unspecified) violence, and makes a colored coat. In Egypt, Yocheved, Moses's mother, learns her people's stories. Pinsker gives her settings specific details, her characters individuality, and their stories threads of connection. Occasionally a contemporary note clangs against the ancient vessel, but mostly the tales will hold readers' attention and offer inspiration. The digitally rendered, soft-focus montage illustrations are a reminder that midrash, too, blends the realistic, the traditional, and the imagined.—Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George's School, Newport, RI
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There have been a number of books that retell Bible stories in the style of midrash, or, as Pinsker puts it, weaving "stories into the areas in which the text is silent." Although this is Pinsker's first book, she is exceptionally adept at doing just that, finding untold tales in the lives of Eve, Rebecca, Noah's wife, and others. In the story "Sarah at the Well," 90-year-old Sarah laughs at her pregnancy, a laugh that even God says is a gift to her people. The rivalry between sisters is burnished brightly in "Leah and Rachel," and in "Yocheved, God's Glory," Moses' mother, as a girl, is raised on stories of the old days when the Hebrews were a proud people, never dreaming that she will restore their pride. Pinsker works like a musician, playing with words instead of notes, but the result is just as lilting and lyrical. The stories are matched by unusual illustrations. Thisdale blends traditional artwork with digital technology. Pieces of photographs mix with ancient elements, giving the pictures a fresh, compelling look. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved