Ella, along with her parents and her stuffed animal Koofi the Kof (monkey) fly to Israel. On the plane Ella spills mango juice on Koofi. As the smiling stewardess wipes the juice off Koofi she says, “Eyn ba’aya. No problem,” which becomes a refrain throughout this delightful book. Ella and her family visit the Kotel where a boy accidently rips Koofi’s tail to which Ella’s mother says, “Eyn ba’aya,” as she sews the tail back on Koofi. When the family visits an outdoor market in Tel Aviv, Ella drips tahini on Koofi to which her mother exclaims, “Eyn ba’aya,” as she cleans Koofi’s fur. At the Dead Sea, Koofi, along with the other tourists, gets covered in mud and in the Gallil, Ella squirts Koofi with milk as she milks a cow. After each incident the phrase “Eyn ba’aya” is repeated. When the family returns home and looks at their picture album they realize that Koofi’s stained fur is a reminder of the places they visited in Israel. Akemi Gutierrez’s pastel watercolor drawings of happy people compliment the text. There is one small inaccuracy in the drawings. Ella’s mother wears a green sleeveless blouse and yellow skirt throughout the book. She would not have been permitted to approach the kotel without covering her arms. This one inaccuracy does not detract from the enjoyment of the book. It is also curious that there is never a depiction of an Israeli flag at any point. Ella’s Trip to Israel is a simple travelogue of Israel for the very youngest readers. For ages 3 – 5.
Ilka Gordon has a Masters in Education from Boston University and an M.L.I.S. from Kent State University. She is a librarian at Siegal College of Judaic Studies in Cleveland.