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A Time to Love: Stories from the Old Testament

A Time to Love: Stories from the Old Testament

by Walter Dean Myers, Christopher Myers (Illustrator)

Like Anita Diamont's bestselling THE RED TENT, this stunning collaboration from an award-winning father & son team finds inspiration in the world's most profound & influential literary work, the Bible

Combining the power of his finest fiction w/ the exquisite language of his poetry, Walter Dean Myers retells 6 stories from the Old Testament--all w/ YA narrators.


Like Anita Diamont's bestselling THE RED TENT, this stunning collaboration from an award-winning father & son team finds inspiration in the world's most profound & influential literary work, the Bible

Combining the power of his finest fiction w/ the exquisite language of his poetry, Walter Dean Myers retells 6 stories from the Old Testament--all w/ YA narrators. Some stories are well known (Samson&Delilah), others less so (Aser&Gamiel). Some are straightforward (Ruth&Naomi). Others are complicated & challenging (Abraham&Isaac). But like the bloodlines that connect many of these biblical figures, a common theme courses through their stories: LOVE. Christopher's arresting artwork is grounded in the traditions of classical art but is infused with a vision and soul all his own.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The father-and-son team behind the Caldecott Honor book Harlem recasts a half dozen episodes from the Bible with teen narrators, giving the audience new ways of viewing age-old stories. Assuming the perspectives of supporting players-including some traditionally viewed as evildoers-author and artistthrow the characters' human frailties into high relief. The Philistine Delilah takes on a kind of nobility in the opening story; the author portrays her as a 15-year-old torn between love for the Israelite Samson and love for her people. Against blood-red backdrops, Christopher Myers draws intimate black-and-white pencil portraits of the couple, the close-up of the blinded Samson conveying both strength and vulnerability. Gaining readers' empathy, Walter Dean Myers selects the most compassionate of Joseph's 11 brothers, Reuben, to describe his brothers' vengeful reactions` to their father's favoring of Joseph and to Joseph's prideful nature. The dramatic collage cover image, taken from "Reuben and Joseph," depicts the moment of forgiveness: Joseph's arms envelop all 11 brothers, two of whom turn away, and one of whom-Reuben-cries. Perhaps the most powerful of the six tales is Isaac's narration of his journey up the mountain with his father, as the boy first believes that his father will make a sacrifice of himself and gradually realizes that he, Isaac, is the sacrifice. The design ensures that the look of the volume matches the contemporary and accessible qualities of the prose. Display type in a distinctly 20th-century font immediately marks the work as modern. Christopher Myers uses up-to-the-minute techniques, too; for example, a contemporary photograph is the focus of each of the mixed-media chapter openers. He applies a different style to the illustrations for each tale (photocollage for the story of Lot, Egyptian-like drawings for the plagues, etc.). This fresh aesthetic approach underscores the collection's implicit message: there are numberless ways to behold sacred stories. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
In a stirring tribute to the Old Testament stories to which he grew up listening, Myers retells six of the most familiar in first person. Readers sense Isaac's mounting fear as he wonders where the lamb for the sacrifice is, Reuben's anguish over the fate of Joseph even as he and his brothers are in Egypt seeking food, and Ruth's legendary love for her mother-in-law. A created character, Hebrew teen Aser, mourns after failing to save his Egyptian firstborn friend on the night of Passover. Readers also hear from those kept silent in biblical stories: passionate, regretful Delilah and betrayed, horrified Zillah, daughter of Lot. Son-collaborator Christopher sought inspiration in works ranging from "wide-eyed Ethiopian paintings to... Marc Chagall" to provide striking artwork as accompaniment. Remarkable images-lightning appearing to strike Abraham's knife as it is poised above Isaac and a "photo" of Lot's wife turning to salt, surrounded by the flames of Sodom-are scattered among the pages. Another Myers son provides a prologue. Teens who would never pick up the Bible will be drawn to these almost autobiographical accounts printed on streaked, papyrus-like pages. Teachers of religion and related subjects would do well to read them aloud as discussion starters. It is obvious that much care went into the details of choosing whose story would be told and into crafting appropriate artwork and voices for the characters. The result reflects a religious reverence and an understanding for human weaknesses and feelings. Illus. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003, Scholastic, 127p,
— PamCarlson
A fictionalized retelling of six Old Testament stories focusing on love, including Sampson and Delilah, Ruben and Joseph, Ruth and Naomi, Abraham and Isaac, Zillah and Lot, Aser and Camiel. Each story is told from the perspective of a secondary character. For instance, the story of Abraham and Isaac, as it is recorded in the Bible, focuses a reader's attention on Abraham, whereas, this fictionalized account reads through the eyes and understanding of Isaac as he follows his father into the land of Moriah to make a sacrifice. He knows his father is a holy man, he is old, he loves God and seeks His will. Isaac knows they have not brought a sacrifice and begins to understand that his father intends him to be the sacrifice. Abraham takes the more difficult route only to test his old life and give Providence the chance to eliminate the command to slay his son. Isaac sees his father's incredible devotion to God and imagines his father's pain at the impending command. The other stories range from highly to barely rewritten. "Sampson and Delilah" is by Delilah. "Reuben and Joseph" is told from Reuben's point of view. "Ruth and Naomi" is about love, loyalty, and shared fate. "Zillah and Lot" is about comfort turned to fear. "Aser and Camiel," told from the point of view of two boys, one Egyptian and one Hebrew, during the Israelites' time in slavery. The collection of stories makes for an interesting commentary on love. Love is illustrated as a perfect emotion, employed by imperfect people. 2003, Scholastic Press, 127 pp., Ages young adult.
—April Anderson
Children's Literature
In this collection, Walter Dean Myers retells six timeless stories from the Old Testament. These stories from the Hebrew scriptures tell memorable tales of Samson, Joseph, Ruth, Abraham, Lot, and Moses. Although the plots closely resemble the scriptures from which they come, Myers uses a different perspective, cleverly making secondary characters in the original stories the first-person narrator of each retold tale. For example, Delilah tells the story of Samson and Delilah from her own point of view. Through this narrative, the audience can read Delilah's personal thoughts as she struggles with the decision to honor her love for Samson or betray him by revealing to his enemies the secret of his strength. In another tale, Myers retells the story of Isaac and Abraham from Isaac's viewpoint. Isaac's words move the reader to empathy as he describes his epiphany that his father will offer him as sacrifice to God. Though the stories come straight from the Bible, they can be viewed without religion in mind since they involve life choices many people must make. The voices of the characters make the stories easy reading for young adults who can handle complex concepts. Christopher Myers, the illustrator and author's son, uses a wide variety of artwork to help illustrate the different stories. He incorporates pencil drawings, photographs, collage, watercolors, and even Egyptian art. This plethora of media used to illustrate the stories makes each tale unique. 2003, Scholastic, and Ages 13 to 16.
—Myra Bodrick
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-These stories from the Hebrew scriptures tell familiar tales of Samson, Joseph, Ruth, Abraham, Lot, and Moses. The first-person narrators, however, are usually secondary characters: when Delilah tells the story, its focus shifts in an interesting way, to explore human love and betrayal. Just before the Exodus, the speaker is a boy whose best friend is a first-born Egyptian who does not survive the last plague. Reuben tells how their betrayal of Joseph (whose coat is not "many-colored") affects the loyal brothers. Lot's youngest daughter reveals her disillusionment with her father. (Isaac, a bit less convincingly, increases his faith in his father, even as he is bound on the altar.) The artwork, in various media, is variously successful. The quasi-Egyptian illustrations are delightful, the pencil drawings for Samson are accomplished, and the silhouette/collage pictures for Joseph are especially effective at suggesting the wider applications of the story. However, the artist's decision to depict Ruth, Naomi, and Orpah as black women sits oddly with the setting in Moab/Judah, and Lot's daughters have South Indian dress and features while their mother appears to be African. The reflections of Myers and his sons on their own spiritual journeys, in supplementary essays, add a worthwhile personal dimension to this contemporary effort at midrash.-Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George's School, Newport, RI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
A Time to Love Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 8.76(h) x 0.58(d)
760L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014) was an American writer of children’s books best known for young adult literature. He wrote more than one hundred books including picture books and nonfiction, and was best known for young adult literature. His best known works include Fallen Angels, Hoops, The Scorpion, and Monster, which was the inaugural winner of the prestigious Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature. On July 1, 2014, Myers passed away after a brief illness.

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