Review: The Giant, the Slingshot, and The Future King

The Giant, The Slingshot, and the Future King

by Tammar Stein, illustrated by Dodo Maeder

Apples & Honey Press (imprint of Behrman House Publishers), 2023

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Suzanne Grossman

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The impact of the early life of King David on his later kingship is told in this easy reader chapter book. We join him as a young shepherd with “a lot of time on his hands,” time he uses well to make up songs to G-d and to learn to use a slingshot, acquiring patience and persistence along the way. When a lion threatens the flock, David is able to use his slingshot skills to scare him off. Later, with this skill and confidence, he famously defeats the enemy giant, Goliath. His friendship with King Saul’s son Jonathan is humorously shared, and his accomplishments as king are broadly covered. 
The cheery cartoon style art and lively text add to the appeal of this book. There is additional information at the back about the archeological evidence of King David’s reign. 
While King David is a universal historical character, he is quite a familiar figure to Jewish children. This book includes no mention of the prophet Samuel’s role in locating and later anointing David, an omission that could be confusing to the Jewish audience. While David composes songs and designs the temple to honor G-d, the people are always referred to as Israelites, not Jews. There is an author’s note restating the book’s theme and reminding us that no one is born an expert in anything, but that patience, practice and persistence can lead to success, a great message for all children. 

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Reviewer Suzanne Grossman is happily retired after 30 years as a children’s library media specialist. She had the opportunity to share books, tell stories, and encourage the joy of reading with thousands of children. The moment when a child enters a story, experiences life as a character does and walks through the setting the author has created is magical. She is honored to have the opportunity to be part of the Sydney Taylor Shmooze, working to bring the best of the newest Jewish children’s literature into the lives of young readers. Having the gift of time, she now enjoys writing picture books and sharing them with children. Happy reading everyone!