Abraham's Search for God by Jacqueline Jules, Natascia Ugliano (Illustrator)
How did Abraham become known as the father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam?Jules offers a picture-book-style theory, as she imagines the religious figure as a child questioning conventions of the day and embracing the bold idea of "One God." Young readers will find much to connect with in Abraham's curiosity about the world as voiced in the accessible text: "Who made the clouds? Who made the flowers?... 'There must be something greater than the idols,' Abraham decided." He deduces that the "one great power" that controls the movement of the sun and moon, and creates rainbows and thunder, "rules the entire universe and sets everything in motion." Ugliano's stylized, playful pastels have a creamy, textured appearance, emphasizing the rich earth tones-blue, green, yellow-of the natural world that Abraham observes.
Jules retells a midrash (a legend based on biblical text) in which the youthful Abraham discovers the concept of monotheism. Rejecting worship of unresponsive idols, Abraham spends time outdoors where he senses an unseen hand directing the movements of the moon, sun, storm, and rainbow. He concludes that "God is everywhere. God is in everything. God is something we know with our hearts." The story ends with the statement that "Today we remember Abraham as the father of three great religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam."
As is often the case with biblical picture books, the storytelling is slightly formal. However, the energetic pastel illustrations are cheerful and warm, and their swirling motion eases any stiffness in the text. This simply told tale is an excellent introduction to the concept of monotheism, and would be a great discussion starter for talking about God. Its neutral stance makes it useful for readers of many faiths.
Thousands of years ago in the city of Ur, a boy named Abraham questions his people's worship of idols and wonders if another force in nature could be the one true God. Impressed by the beauty of the moon, the brightness and strength of the sun, thunder and lightning's energy and the sereneness of a multi-colored rainbow following a rain storm, Abraham contemplates and even tries to pray to each of these. But he soon realizes that the one true God is everywhere, in everything and is the great power that rules the universe.
While Abraham's story in Genesis is told from an adult perspective, Jules bases her clearly and effortlessly told legend on several interpretations in the Midrash suggesting how the boy Abraham developed a belief in one unseen God. Ugliano's scenes of an ancient biblical community and one child's connection to the natural surrounding world in soft pastel/crayon tones couple the abstract concept of a universal spiritual entity with an introduction to the father of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A promising presentation for early childhood religious instruction. (Picture book. 4-7)
Age Range: 4 to 8