Take a peak inside
Written by Naama Benziman
Translated by Shira Atik
Price: £12.99 / $12.95
Subject: An award-winning retelling of a famous Jewish midrash about bickering and the Temple’s destruction
- 2020 American Illustration Competition award winner
- An enchanting and humorous tale adapted from a traditional Jewish midrash
- Delivers a poignant message about the importance of taking care of friendships and resolving arguments
- Stunningly and innovatively illustrated by an award-winning
- Israeli artist and writer
- Includes an 8-page foldout section
Lenny lives on the edge of the forest. He spends his days tending his roses, drinking cocoa and practising for jumping competitions. He can jump further than anyone in the forest; not even the, frog or squirrel can beat him. Until Benny turns up. Lenny and Benny have the best time in the world together but when Lenny realises that Benny can jump further than he can, he accuses him of cheating and lying and refuses to see him ever again. Time passes and Benny decides to have a party. He invites everybody except Lenny, but the postman accidentally delivers an invitation anyway. Lenny, ready to be friends again, is delighted. However, when he turns up, Benny is enraged, calls him a liar and says he never wants to see him again. But Lenny and Benny did once have the best time in the world together. Is any argument worth losing such a great friendship over? Inspired by the midrash about Kamtza and Bar-Kamtza, in which an inter-communal squabble ultimately leads to the destruction of the Second Temple, this is a story about the importance and joy of friendship, the futility of conflict and how destructive an unresolved argument can be.
Naama Benziman is an award-winning Israeli artist, illustrator, curator, editor and author. She exhibits internationally and lectures on Illustration and Visual Literacy at Israel’s top visual arts academies. Her previous books for children are Emilia and Albert’s Tall Hat, both published in Hebrew by Am Oved. Born in Jerusalem, she now lives in Tel Aviv.
‘The midrashic story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza is a traditional Jewish morality tale used to illustrate the principle of baseless hatred, considered so egregious and widespread in the latter days of the Jerusalem Temple, that it was thought to be the source of the Temple’s destruction in 70 CE. Lenny and Benny, by Naama Benziman, is an updated version of this tale. The story takes place in a pristine forest populated only by wildlife, where envy, revenge, and betrayal continue to exist… In contrast to Lenny and Benny’s happy ending, the story of Kamtza and Bar Kamtza ends on a tragic note, with no peaceful resolution. Benziman includes a summary of the traditional story and a note reminding the reader about the value of kindness, with tips on how to handle anger. The reader leaves knowing that a happier ending is not only possible, but is achievable through action. The lesson is gently told, with no didactic overtones, and Benziman’s seemingly simple line drawings are teeming with detail far more complex than is evident at first glance, using color to clearly differentiate the characters. Overall, Lenny and Benny tells an important story for each succeeding generation to internalize and act upon. It would be of great use in both classroom discussions and in family settings, making this charming new version of an ancient tale highly recommended.’ Michal Hoschander Malen, Jewish Book Council