One City, Two Brothers

One City, Two Brothers

4.0 1
by Chris Smith, Aurelia Fronty

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Editorial Reviews

Julie Just
A beautifully illustrated folk tale, with both Jewish and Arabic roots, tells of the origins of the city of Jerusalem…a wistful reminder of the shared traditions of an extraordinary and turbulent city.
—The New York Times
Children's Literature
To settle an argument between two brothers, King Solomon tells a story of brothers and the origin of the city of Jerusalem. Every year two brothers together plow, plant, and harvest the fields and divide the grain and straw. One year of good harvest, the older brother, married with a family, worries that his younger brother has nobody, so that night he takes three sacks of grain over to his brother, but the next morning, all his sacks are still there. This happens again on the second night, because the younger brother, thinking about his brother�s large family, has taken three of his sacks to him. The brothers meet on the third night and realize how they care for each other. The spot where they meet becomes the site of the holy temple. Acrylic paints create double-page scenes of the landscape and the town in simple, stylized fashion, quietly peaceful and devoid of other people. The fields, the ribbon of road between the hills, the borders of text pages, all have an almost quilt-like appearance. The story plays out like a game with movable characters on a map-like board. The morality of Solomon�s parable is clear. Extensive notes fill in information about the history of Jerusalem, with an added note for Muslim readers. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

K-Gr 4
In a folktale shared by both Jews and Arabs, two brothers plow their father's field and divide the harvest equally. The older brother feels blessed by his wife and children and is compelled to give more of the grain to his younger brother, who lives alone. In the middle of the night, he takes three sacks of grain to the man's house. The younger sibling feels that his older brother deserves more of the harvest since he has a family to support, and he in turn journeys to his brother's house with three sacks of grain. Both are puzzled in the morning when they see that they still have the same amount of grain. This continues for several nights until they meet on the hill halfway between their houses. It is believed that this meeting place is where King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Smith's poetic retelling, coupled with Fronty's stunning acrylic illustrations, makes a pleasing and poignant picture book. The beautifully written author's note provides readers with background information about Jerusalem and the origins of the story. A timeless tale about selflessness, brotherly love, and the power of individual acts of kindness.
—Rachel KaminCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

Barefoot Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.80(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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