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The Story of Queen Esther Hardcover – January 5, 2009

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Koralek (The Coat of Many Colors) and Holderness (When the World Began) play a little fast and loose with the details of the Book of Esther: the reason for Esther's recruitment as a royal bride is omitted (no Vashti, the queen who is banished for refusing to dance for the drunken king); Ahasuerus, the clueless potentate, is transformed into a Persian hottie, complete with wavy hair and soulful, sensitive eyes (the center spread, with Esther and the king embracing, is worthy of a romance novel cover); and Esther has gained a devoted pet cheetah. More shockingly, Mordecai and Esther are shown praying on their knees, against Jewish tradition. But while the result is more fairy tale than kosher for Purim, Koralek's telling is admirably brisk and dramatic, and she keeps sight of the core message: that Esther's faith and sense of responsibility give her the courage to do the right thing. Holderness's saturated, jewel-tone pastels, geometric lines and subtle patterning successfully meld once-upon-a-time with an exotic Far East. She also gives Esther star-studded raven tresses that reach all the way down to her calves—which, as any female member of the target audience will attest, is totally awesome. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–5—This is a serviceable retelling of the biblical story of the Jewish queen of ancient Persia who saved her people from the plotting of the king's evil vizier, Haman. The events in the original tale are rather convoluted; while they are streamlined here, the story remains somewhat disjointed. The characters play their traditional roles without much development, and an atmosphere of solemnity pervades the story. The Jewish holiday of Purim, which commemorates the story of Queen Esther, is mentioned on the final spread without further explanation. The illustrations are the highlight of the book. Stylized, dreamy pastel spreads sing with deep color. Esther, whose name means "star," is portrayed with a moon and stars floating in her long dark hair, emphasizing her otherworldly beauty. The dignified pictures support the solemn tone of the text. While Rita Golden Gelman's Queen Esther Saves Her People (Scholastic, 1998) and Mordicai Gerstein's Queen Esther the Morning Star (S & S, 2000) offer more humor and character development, and slightly more coherent storytelling, this version will be a welcome addition.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 28 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (January 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080285348X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802853486
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.3 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #956,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In this attractive yet simplified retelling of the Purim story, it is the richly toned pastel illustrations that take center stage. Utilizing a palette of deep red, midnight blue and gold, the Persian influenced two-page spreads carry the familiar story forward with an exotic appeal. Yet, as with any old and oft-told story, the text reveals certain liberties taken with familiar elements of the tale that ultimately determine the intended audience. For example, the back-story that leads to Esther becoming queen is reduced to a single sentence referring only to her beauty. Mordecai, far from encouraging Esther in her quest to become queen (and to ultimately save her people), is unhappy when King Ahasuerus chooses her for his wife. And once Haman's evil decree to kill all the Jews is exposed and Haman is punished, Mordecai simply tears up the order and all is well. While not serious omissions, these editorial choices lessen the opportunity to discuss certain aspects of the story (i.e., the Jews fighting victoriously for their survival when the decree cannot be reversed). Thus, this version seems better suited for younger children who will enjoy the brilliantly colored illustrations, fear for the beautiful dark-haired Esther as she approaches the King uninvited, and hiss at Haman when he is led off to the gallows built for Mordecai. While not as thorough a telling as Dianne Wolkstein's Esther's Story (1991), this is a visually appealing version that will find its place amongst others in your collection. Ages 5 - 8. Teri Markson
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Format: Hardcover
The Story of Queen Esther is a picturebook retelling of the Biblical story of Queen Esther, a brave, beautiful Jewish girl who became the Queen of Persia and risked her life to save her people from execution. Featuring Grizelda Holderness' beautiful, color illustrations inspired by Persian artwork, The Story of Queen Esther is sure to entrance young readers of all faiths. "When Mordecai heard the terrible news, he quickly sent a message to Esther : 'Only you can save us now! Go to the king and beg him to be merciful.' Esther sent a message back: 'Anyone who goes before the king uninvited will be put to death - even I, the queen.' 'You must go,' Mordecai replied. 'Very well,' said Esther, 'I will go to him. But first, you and I must fast and pray to prepare ourselves.'" Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This beautifully illustrated book is doomed, by its flawed text, to appeal only to people who look at Scripture as myth. So many aspects of the story are changed or deleted. For example, the scriptures never say exactly when the assassinatin plot was discovered, but Koralek writes that it was on Esther's wedding day. According to her, only Esther and Mordacai fasted, and she tells us what they prayed for, which is more than the bible tells us. She says that the king's "face blazed with anger" when Esther entered his prescence uninvited, which is wrong, and the list goes on and on. Most sadly of all, she omits the most treasured verse of this story (Esther 4:14), when Mordecai challenges Esther to look at her queenly position as a gift from God to save her people. Simplifying a bible story for a young audience does not give us the right to change the details!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really thought it was thicker bit it was a great book.
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