Stories from the Bible illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger

As longtime readers know, I am fascinated by fairy tales, folktales, myths and classic stories.  Combine these with great illustrations and quality packaging and I can’t resist.

Award winning illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger’s career seemingly lies at this very intersection.  So I am always on lookout for her books when I browse used bookstores or library sales. And I have been able to find some amazing books for just a few dollars.

My first children’s book illustrated by Zwerger was The Selfish Giant which I loved.  Since stumbling on that volume I have become more fascinated and enamored with this artist and her work adding more of her books to my collection. Over the next few days I will be sharing my thoughts on these great books

The first book I came across after Selfish Giant was Stories from the Bible a beautiful combination of excerpts from the King James Bible and Zwerger’s illustrations.  But as the School Library Journal notes, this is not really a book likely to appeal to children:

These excerpts, taken verbatim from the King James Version of the Bible, are divided into six groups. The Old Testament sections include stories of the Beginning, the Fathers and Mothers of Israel, the Deliverance out of Egypt, King David, Psalms, and the words of the Prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah. The New Testament sections are the birth of Jesus and the beginning of His works, Jesus’s words about His mission, experiences with Jesus, the message of Jesus, the Passion and Resurrection, and “Unto the Ends of the World” (Acts and Revelations). Coverage of Genesis, Exodus, and Jesus’s life and teachings is passable, although there are substantial gaps. The other selections are very limited. The work is imaginatively illustrated with occasional full-page paintings, usually but not always associated with the accompanying text, and a number of decorative vignettes. Often they have an almost surreal quality. In the scene of Moses in the bulrushes, Pharaoh’s daughter watches from a distant riverbank and is accompanied by jackal- and falcon-headed Egyptian gods. The principals may be dressed in modern clothing or carrying suitcases. Colors are muted and the artistic styles vary from meticulously detailed to abstract. The perspectives are sometimes dramatically skewed. With its use of the elevated King James language, its very selective choice of material, and its sophisticated paintings (some illustrations are not readily comprehensible), this title is more a coffee-table art book than a collection of Bible stories for youngsters. There are many anthologies available with friendlier language and more accessible pictures for children.

I agree that the book is more coffee table art book than children’s Bible, but that within that framework it is a beautiful book.  And this doesn’t mean you can’t read it with you children.

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Off the Beaten Path by the Editors of Readers Digest

offthebeatenpathI don’t make it a habit of reviewing coffee table type books.  Of all the various genres and book types I am interested in, that isn’t really an area I spend much time with.

But every once in a while A photography or educational book of this sort comes across my desk and I feel it worthwhile to pass along the information here.  A recent example is Off the Beaten Path.

Here is the publishers blurb:

Off the Beaten Path spotlights over 1,000 of the United States’ most overlooked must- see destinations. In a state-by-state A-to-Z format, this budget-friendly vacation planner reveals the best-kept secret spots so that no matter where you live, you can plan an unforgettable local vacation within an hour or two of your home. Each of the featured sites has been verified by the respective state’s tourist bureau as still being “off the beaten path.” Revel in nature, science, art, and culture, and encounter the unexpected as you explore undiscovered gems.

[…]

Packed with innovative ideas for fun day trips and truly memorable vacations for travelers of every temperament, penchant, and budget, this unparalleled escape book leads you to New Hampshire’s castle in the clouds. pontoon boating through the Florida Everglades, dinosaurs trails through Colorado, an authentic jousting tournament in Virginia, or a stroll down America’s oldest street in New York City.

If you are the type that likes to travel, just for a weekend or for long stretches, this is a great resource.  The book is laid out in a very readable and easy to use style.  Organized alphabetically by state, each state has a collection destinations that even residents might not have thought of.  The beautiful photography and helpful illustrations don’t crowd out the text so it is easy to get the information you need.  And each entry has a website and phone number for more information.  And a handy seasonal events sidebar list key events throughout the year.

I looked through some of the entries in the states that I have lived in and found that most of the entries were “off the beaten path.”  Most of them I was unaware of or had not visited.  My wife and I made notes so we could visit some of the destinations we had missed.

Of course, if you aren’t that adventuresome you could simply use the book to find out interesting things about all 50 states.  It is easy to find your self just flipping through the pages looking for interesting places and destinations; dreaming of vacations and weekend trips.

So whether you use this as a resource for actual travel or a coffee table book for conversation and daydreaming there is really something for everyone.

Off the Beaten Path by the Editors of Readers Digest

offthebeatenpathI don’t make it a habit of reviewing coffee table type books.  Of all the various genres and book types I am interested in, that isn’t really an area I spend much time with.

But every once in a while A photography or educational book of this sort comes across my desk and I feel it worthwhile to pass along the information here.  A recent example is Off the Beaten Path.

Here is the publishers blurb:

Off the Beaten Path spotlights over 1,000 of the United States’ most overlooked must- see destinations. In a state-by-state A-to-Z format, this budget-friendly vacation planner reveals the best-kept secret spots so that no matter where you live, you can plan an unforgettable local vacation within an hour or two of your home. Each of the featured sites has been verified by the respective state’s tourist bureau as still being “off the beaten path.” Revel in nature, science, art, and culture, and encounter the unexpected as you explore undiscovered gems.

[…]

Packed with innovative ideas for fun day trips and truly memorable vacations for travelers of every temperament, penchant, and budget, this unparalleled escape book leads you to New Hampshire’s castle in the clouds. pontoon boating through the Florida Everglades, dinosaurs trails through Colorado, an authentic jousting tournament in Virginia, or a stroll down America’s oldest street in New York City.

If you are the type that likes to travel, just for a weekend or for long stretches, this is a great resource.  The book is laid out in a very readable and easy to use style.  Organized alphabetically by state, each state has a collection destinations that even residents might not have thought of.  The beautiful photography and helpful illustrations don’t crowd out the text so it is easy to get the information you need.  And each entry has a website and phone number for more information.  And a handy seasonal events sidebar list key events throughout the year.

I looked through some of the entries in the states that I have lived in and found that most of the entries were “off the beaten path.”  Most of them I was unaware of or had not visited.  My wife and I made notes so we could visit some of the destinations we had missed.

Of course, if you aren’t that adventuresome you could simply use the book to find out interesting things about all 50 states.  It is easy to find your self just flipping through the pages looking for interesting places and destinations; dreaming of vacations and weekend trips.

So whether you use this as a resource for actual travel or a coffee table book for conversation and daydreaming there is really something for everyone.