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Etan Boritzer
Illustrated by Robbie Marantz

Willowdale (Ont.), Firefly Books, 1990. unpaged, paper, $5.95
ISBN 0-920668-89-5, CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 1 /Ages 5 to 6
Reviewed by Theo Hersh.

Volume 18 Number 6
1990 November

"What is God?" This is "a very, very big question," as the opening sentences declare. This slight, barely informational picture-book attempts to answer the question, but it is shallow.

This is a book that will please no one. The author, after briefly examining the world's major religions, concludes that "Most religions are almost the same!" because "Most religions say that you should not lie... steal... [or] hurt people." Yet "... people of every religion understand God/ In their own different way..." and sometimes "... Don't like people of another religion/ Just because their religion is different..." What an inverted way to demonstrate common ground!

The language throughout is simplis­tic. The second person, always a difficult voice to master in informational books, adds a condescending tone. The paragraphs are laid out as if poetic verse, but there is no rhythm or rhyme to them. The concepts fall out of these paragraphs without rhyme or reason. The illustrations are unnoteworthy. Even the quality of the paperback review copy, which fell apart, left much to be desired.

The book concludes on a weak New Age pantheistic note: feel God...close your eyes...
And listen to your breath go ... in
and out...
And think how you are connected to

including God. Children whose families follow a specific religion will gain nothing from this book, not tolerance and not a better understanding of God. Children from agnostic or atheistic homes will not be enlightened.

As the author states in the opening page, "Maybe we can't really talk about God...." Not this time, anyway.

Theo Hersh, Toronto Public Library, Toronto, Ont.
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