Gr 5 Up-An attractive and intriguing introduction to Jewish tradition and Biblical history. Using a rather static layout that curiously lends itself to the formality of Talmudic discussion and interpretation, Podwal leads readers through numerous instances of the use of the number 10 in the Old Testament, in the Talmud, and in Jewish mystical tradition. Sometimes he describes all 10 of something, e.g., the generations between Adam and Noah, and sometimes he gives only a partial list, allowing youngsters to discover the remaining information on their own, which makes the book a useful tool for Hebrew school teachers. Generous white space and gouache-and-ink paintings make the volume appealing for family use as well; libraries in communities with many Jewish patrons will want to add it to their collections.-Sharon Grover, Arlington County Department of Libraries, VA
Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet stands for a number. The letter "yod", which represents the number 10, is the first letter of God's name. The esteem accorded the number 10 comes into play repeatedly in Jewish law and lore and is the inspired theme around which Podwal spotlights episodes in the history of the Jewish people. Dramatically simple gouache-and-ink paintings depict such scenes as the downfall of Sodom, along with the phrase "10 righteous men could have saved Sodom from destruction." Running vertically along the far side of the page is a brief, gracefully flowing elaboration of the biblical account of Abraham's bargaining with God to save the sinful city. Podwal also offers the story of Daniel's surviving in the den with 10 lions; tells of King David's harp having 10 strings; and relates how God created the world with 10 words. With its attractive format, this picture book for older readers welcomes readers to an innovative approach to the Bible and Jewish history.