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The Moses Basket

The Moses Basket

by Jenny Koralek, Pauline Baynes (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Invitingly told in words and pictures, the story of Moses among the bullrushes receives a streamlined, child-friendly adaptation. While passages from Exodus precede the narrative, Koralek (Night Ride to Nanna's) immediately homes in on the drama, so that it is up to presiding adults to supply a biblical or cultural context. The author briefly describes the Hebrew slaves in Egypt and the fearful Pharaoh's decree that their baby boys be cast into the river, and then she introduces the mother determined to save her son by weaving him a boatlike basket. Her telling takes a universal approach, highlighting the heroism of the baby's sister, Miriam, in her role as the baby's protector, and the kindness of the Pharoah's daughter, whose sympathy for an abandoned Hebrew baby saves the infant who will become Moses. Baynes, best known for her illustrations for the original Narnia books, delivers masterly paintings that specifically evoke ancient Egyptian art in their perspectives but that retain a contemporary sense of color and motion. Presented in a range of sizes and laid out in various ways, the illustrations fluidly and spontaneously advance the story. Ages 3-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
From the words of the Book of Exodus, quoted in the beginning, Koralek weaves the story of the baby Moses. When the Hebrew slaves become too numerous, the Pharaoh of Egypt, fearful of revolt, orders all Hebrew baby boys to be thrown into the river to drown. One mother determines to save her son. She weaves him a boat-like cradle. His sister Miriam takes him to where she knows the Egyptian princess comes to bathe. As she foresees, the princess decides to raise him as her son and call him Moses. Miriam dances with joy. Baynes's visualization of the ancient story with such important consequences suggests Egyptian wall paintings. The end papers are lush, grassy marshes with dozens of waterfowl. The characters are coifed and costumed appropriately, set in scenes that are framed with thick decorative borders. The colors and compositions reinforce the very positive emotional message of the text. 2003, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Ages 3 to 6.
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-When Moses's mother learns of the Pharaoh's command that all male Hebrew babies be thrown in the river, she makes a papyrus cradle in which to lay her infant son. She and her daughter Miriam place him on the water, and Miriam assures her that when the princess walks by, she will save the child. Staying true to the Old Testament tale, Koralek keeps a reverential tone and tells the story using accessible though not oversimplified language. The beautifully rendered artwork is well placed and successfully evokes a strong sense of place and time.-Leslie Barban, Richland County Public Library, Columbia, SC Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Koralek gracefully retells the Old Testament story of Moses in the bulrushes in lyrical prose complemented by stylized paintings from Baynes. The large, attractive illustrations often incorporate the conventions of ancient Middle Eastern art with patterned borders, earth tones, and the distinctive, flat portrayal of the human figure in profile associated with early artifacts. The illustrations also include well-researched details of daily life in Biblical times, such as costumes and hairstyles, as well as birds, animals, and plants of the region. The author creates believable dialogue for the main characters, effectively capturing the emotions of the mother and sister of Moses, who manage to save him through their own witty scheme. The thoughtful retelling and striking illustrations make this a fine choice for reading aloud in group settings. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-9)

Product Details

Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

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