Children's LiteratureKing David established Jerusalem as the Israelite capital in 1000 B.C. In 597 B.C., the city was destroyed by the Babylonians. Later, the Greeks invaded, then the Romans. The bulk of this book recounts Jerusalem's embattled past. Art reproductions, such as Rembrandt's portrait of the prophet Jeremiah weeping, are used in many places as illustrations. The ancient Jewish historian, Josephus, is quoted. Daily menus are described. For example, in King Herod's time, people considered cooked grasshoppers a special treat. The crucifixion of Jesus during Roman rule is given a double-page treatment. Muslim customs and family life are explained. The text clearly portrays Jerusalem's significance to Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Modern Jerusalem is depicted as a bustling city, where the sound of loudspeakers call Muslims to prayer and Orthodox Church bells announce Christian services, while Jews fill the marketplace to buy food for the Sabbath. The prose is direct and readable, but not particularly memorable. There are few unusual facts like cooked grasshoppers to keep the reluctant reader involved. However, students already interested in this subject or in need of resources for a historical report will be satisfied with this offering. A timeline and index are included. 2001, Runestone Press/Lerner, $25.26. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Jackie Hechtkopf
School Library JournalGr 4-7-Slavik traces the history of Jerusalem from pre-Israelite days to the present, showing the importance of the holy city to the three great monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. However, there are a number of problematic statements in the text. The very first sentence in the book, "Jerusalem, the capital of Israel-" is not really correct. The eastern part of the city, including the old walled city, is not, by international law, a part of Israel, but occupied territory. Also, when after Solomon's death the united Kingdom of Israel split, the northern kingdom was called Israel, but the southern kingdom was called Judah, not Judea as the book states. In addition, the Dome of the Rock is incorrectly called a mosque; it is actually a shrine over the rock, from which, by tradition, Muhammad made his night visit to heaven. Most Arab men, especially the younger ones, wear the same clothing as Israelis, and many women wear modest modern clothing, not veils. Not all Arab children attend Muslim schools; there is a large population of Christian Arabs living in Jerusalem, as well as a whole section of Armenian Christians who are neither Arab, Jew, nor Muslim. All this being said, the book does give a brief summary of a very important city. As in earlier titles in the series, this book has good-quality, full-color photographs; drawings; reproductions; and interesting sidebars appear throughout. -Carol Johnson Shedd, National Outreach Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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