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*Jerusalem Sky: Stars, Crosses & Crescents* by Mark Podwal

Jerusalem Sky: Stars, Crosses & Crescents
by Mark Podwal
ages 4-8 32 pages Doubleday Books for Young Readers August 2005 Hardcover    

Jerusalem Sky: Stars, Crosses and Crescents introduces young readers to an ancient city and its traditions. Highlighting the stories of the three religions that consider Jerusalem to be sacred ground, the poetic verses primarily focus on the beauty and wonder of the city.

From the biography on the back panel, it appears that Mark Podwal is Jewish, but a reader would never know that this work was penned by a follower of any particular religion. Christianity, Judaism and Islam are presented evenly and fairly with short descriptions of important moments from each religious tradition.

The ongoing conflict in Jerusalem is touched on briefly. "Though it is called City of Peace,/ no place has been fought over more." To go any farther than that would be uncalled for in a children's book, but it's nice to see that the subject wasn't ignored.

Soft-hued impressionistic paintings provide a beautiful complement to the words. The predominant image, used on the cover, is of a city of many traditions under a blue sky. Other striking images include a Jerusalem building re-imagined as an opening book and a rare, brightly-colored picture of "the roses on Jerusalem's hills." The combined presentation of words and pictures creates a brilliant love letter and homage to the city.

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  Lorie Witkop/2005 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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