Cover image for The promised land : the birth of the Jewish people
The promised land : the birth of the Jewish people
Waldman, Neil.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Honesdale, Pa. : Boyds Mills Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
40 pages : color illustrations, color map ; 33 cm
The story of the Jewish people from Abraham to Moses.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 7.3 1.0 60319.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS118 .W35 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
DS118 .W35 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Long ago in a part of the world once known as Mesopotamia, a nomadic tribesman led his people through the wilderness in search of a mystical land called Canaan. This journey would change the course of human history. Since that time, entire civilizations have flourished and vanished, along with their religions. Only one people has survived the tumult of the centuries--the Jews. What accounts for their remarkable survival? Neil Waldman tells the story of the Jewish people from their arrival in Canaan to the Exodus from Egypt. His paintings capture emotional scenes of Jewish life in the ancient world and in Europe. He shows how generation upon generation of Jews, in the face of profound crisis, have drawn strength from God's promise of a land flowing with milk and honey. The key to the Jewish people's survival is found in the story of their birth.

Author Notes

Neil Waldman is the writer and illustrator of more than fifty children's books. His books have won the Christopher Award, the National Jewish Book Award and the School Library Best Book Award. He is also the founder/director of the Fred Dolan Art Academy in the Bronx. Al and Teddy is one of his picture books. All proceeds from sales of "AL and TEDDY" will be used to support the young artists of the Fred Dolan Art Academy, a free Saturday school designed to help Bronx youngsters go to art college. Founded in 2006, twenty-three students have graduated from the academy, all going on to college with scholarships.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-7. There's no question this is a gorgeous book decorated with elegant gold-leaf borders that feature Hebrew lettering, portraits, and landscapes that cut across time from biblical days to the concentration camps. Waldman has obviously poured emotion and reverence into every illustration, whether he is picturing Moses' facial features glowing in the brilliant light of the burning bush; an elderly gentleman, yellow star prominent on his drab coat; or a sun-dappled meadow in the Promised Land. But his densely packed text is not quite as successful as his art, in part because he's taken on such a huge subject. He's had to make some awkward leaps and connections (one moment he's discussing the 10 plagues, the next he's moved to children in the ghetto; then it's back again). For children with background knowledge, however, there's a wealth of information as well as drama aplenty. Crisscrossing a rich, panoramic landscape of history, Waldman weaves together teachings, commandments, and mystical happenings to reveal a tapestry of struggle that represents the «hopes, dreams, and aspirations» of the Jews of the past and for generations to come. A brief glossary of Hebrew translations is appended. Stephanie Zvirin.

Publisher's Weekly Review

A dramatic vertical format (7U" 13/"), gold lettering on the jacket, gold borders within and abundant illustrations in Waldman's (The Golden City: Jerusalem's Three Thousand Years) reverent, contemporary style signal a gift book; this title is more impressive for its visual impact than for its text. Waldman links the survival of the Jewish people to Jewish faith in God's biblical promise of a land of milk and honey. He begins with Abram's journey to Canaan (identifying Abram as "a good and decent nomadic tribesman [who] was visited by God"), then asserts, "A profound connection is forged that will endure for thousands of years. It is the relationship of a wandering desert people to a cherished piece of fertile soil, a land that will come to represent their hopes, dreams, and aspirations." The text frequently demands a lot from young readers (even when Waldman later names Abram as the first Jew, he doesn't explain why), but elsewhere makes simplistic arguments, particularly in his monolithic descriptions of Judaism ("Their religion has remained intact since the days of Baal, Zeus, Cleopatra, and the pyramids"). The watercolors, on the other hand, are consistently moving. In strikingly lit desert colors the artist evokes the Jews of Moses' day, and he darkens his palette to intersperse images of other Jews far from a homeland-Eastern European cheder boys; an old man with a yellow star on his coat; a contemporary man holding a Torah scroll. When Waldman finally shows "the sacred soil of Canaan" (he doesn't name Israel), his work is subtle: the land is green but open, suggesting harvests yet to come. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-9-In this beautifully written but rather obscure book, Waldman covers the history of the Jewish people from the time of Abraham through Moses leading his people to Mt. Nebo and Joshua leading them into Canaan. The writing is lyrical and lovely; however, it is likely to be over the comprehension level of its intended audience, as the author uses such words as "immutable" and "amalgam." The book also requires a certain amount of familiarity with Jewish history, for Waldman refers to children reading the Torah in the ghettos without explanation, and alludes to the Diaspora without going into detail past the Exodus story. The story ends abruptly after the arrival in Canaan, leaving readers wanting further information. The design is attractive, with a gilt border of leaves and a Hebrew phrase running along the top of each page, boxes of Hebrew lettering on small painted backgrounds, and a map of the area on the contents page. The illustrations are uneven, but for the most part they are lovely, with inserts at the start of each chapter that include stylized Egyptians, landscapes, and snakes, as well as full-page paintings that depict such scenes as the burning bush, the Jews traveling through the desert, and Moses holding up the tablets. Unfortunately, the complexity of the language and minimal background make the audience unclear and the book somewhat inaccessible. However, middle school and religious libraries looking to expand their early Jewish history sections may find it useful.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.