I’ve been asked to read through possible new children’s books for our church bookstore, and I’m very excited to share my reviews here on my blog. I’ll also try to give reviews of other books we pick up from the library or books we already have at home! We love to read here at the Harris homestead!
The Moses Basket is a beautifully illustrated children’s book written by Jenny Koralek and illustrated by Pauline Baynes. I’ve always loved the story of Baby Moses ever since I was a child. My parents read from the “My Bible Friends” series by Etta B. Degering, also an excellent series of Bible stories with vivid pictures. The joy of re-reading those stories and the smell of the pages brings me back to my childhood days. With that in mind, it was exciting to read a new version of the story with new illustrations to share with my 2.5 year old daughter.
One of the first things that stood out to me was the illustrations. After reading the back panel, I learned that Pauline Baynes is also the artist of the original editions of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and also illustrated several works by JRR Tolkien. This just boosted my esteem of her and I was hooked! Not only did she create a beautiful interpretation of the story using creative designs, patterns, wildlife, and pageborders, but I also appreciated her use of different shades of gray to illustrate the evening and then shades of green along with pink and yellow for the day. I also noticed she was very successful illustrating the story using a style similar to that of the ancient Egyptian style of painting. You can compare her illustrations to this painting.
Baynes did a wonderful job of developing the story from the scriptural text. One thing that caught my attention was her focus on the prophetess Miriam’s role of helping her mother prepare the basket and set it in the water, knowing that the Princess would save the child. Another part of the story that I hadn’t fully realized, if at all, was that perhaps the Princess did know what the mother and daughter were doing. I had always thought that she had just seen a cute baby and wanted to have him as her own. But reading Baynes’ interpretation of the story, I wonder if the Princess was completely aware of all that was happening with the mother and daughter.
I also very much appreciate Baynes’ inclusion of the Biblical text at the beginning of the story. In this way, she points the entire story back to the Biblical text and shows readers that she is following with her interpretation of the text.
This book is a delightful version of the story of Baby Moses and pleasantly illustrated drawing young readers to want to read it again and again…which was the case today at our house!