Every Picture Tells a Story – Book Review!

20141119_083508We reviewed the book, “Every Picture Tells a Story,” Volume 1, Bereishis, by Chaim Natan Firszt, along with the corresponding coloring book. Here is my review.

The book is an illustrated, hard cover book on the weekly parsha with Torah verses and commentaries geared for every age. There are beautiful, hand drawn, full colored pictures on the left side of the page while the right side has a20141119_083527 verse/verses from the Torah as well as a short commentary below it, both in Hebrew and then in English.  The pictures and texts go in order of the weekly parshiyos and include the source of the verses. Above the picture is the name of the parsha as well as a short phrase describing the picture, again both in Hebrew and English. The corresponding coloring book is the outline of the pictures found in the main book.

When I opened it up, I found it to be a very simple and clean layout. It is a very nice book to look at (and I would like to say that the text had almost a majestic feel,) and was very easy to read. The author took a few select main points from each parsha to highlight. I liked the fact that there was one idea per page with the selected verse(s) containing one thought, a commentary underneath to go with it and a nice color picture for 20141119_083546 (1)reinforcement. The only thing that I found a little annoying, was the fact that the Hebrew verses had nekudos (vowels,) but the commentary underneath did not. The English translation was very nice. One nice thing about it is that for words that are commonly used by their Hebrew name in English (i.e. the names of people), the first occurrence of the word includes the English word in brackets. For the rest of the of the time, just the Hebrew is used. However, all Hebrew words are found in the glossary at the back of the book.

The book can be enjoyed by everyone (I enjoyed reading it,) for the language was not watered down and the text is short enough to keep the attention of the younger children. I have been reading it to my 5 year old son, going over the weekly parsha several times a week, and he enjoys looking at the pictures, even after I read the selected pages for the parsha. My 11 and 12 year old also looked at it and20141119_083538 enjoyed it but found it was good as a once or twice reading book only. What I really enjoyed, and it will be something that we all will be using often, are the pages at the end of the book. There are various wonderful family trees with the Hebrew dates, as well as a beautiful chart about the Shevatim (the 12 tribes) and their zodiac places.

20141119_083615I think that younger children will benefit the most from the book for it takes just a few main ideas from the parsha using short passages and commentaries, however the charts at the back are wonderful and extremely useful for all of us. When I am learning parsha with my 5 year old son, I do not use this as his only source of learning because it it limiting as a summary of the 20141119_083711parsha but we read from “Every Picture Tells a Story” afterwards because it focuses on a few main points and then goes into some detail and explanations so he learns a little bit more but is not overwhelmed. All in all, I really like the book and do recommend it.