Engi­neer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride

Deb­o­rah Bod­in Cohen; Sha­har Kober, illus.
  • Review
By – January 9, 2012
The year is 1892, and Engi­neer Ari is in charge of dri­ving the train on its first trip from Jaf­fa to Jerusalem. His pride becomes boast­ful as he brags to his friends about his impor­tant job. As he dri­ves the train through Israel, he col­lects gifts along the way, includ­ing apples, hon­ey, and loaves of round chal­lahs. But his joy is tem­pered with guilt for hav­ing mis­treat­ed his friends. As Ari approached Jerusalem with all the Rosh Hashanah treats, he remem­bers that dur­ing Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kip­pur it is time to do teshu­vah, and decides to dri­ve the train back to his friends to apol­o­gize. Kids and trains are a nat­ur­al com­bi­na­tion and the pic­ture book medi­um is per­fect for telling a sto­ry of this impor­tant time in Israel’s his­to­ry. With­out being didac­tic, Engi­neer Ari and the Rosh  Hashanah Ride teach­es young­sters about the impor­tance of kind­ness, per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty, and for­give­ness. Bod­in Cohen has not only recre­at­ed an impor­tant his­tor­i­cal event, she seam­less­ly con­nects the event to an essen­tial aspect of Judaism. The illus­tra­tions cap­ture the essence of var­i­ous loca­tions through­out Israel. The col­or palette sub­tly shifts with each locale, but the train is bright red through­out. The dou­ble spread illus­tra­tion of the train approach­ing Jerusalem is par­tic­u­lar­ly love­ly. An author’s note pro­vides back­ground infor­ma­tion about the train, which will be of inter­est to teach­ers and stu­dents. Over­all, a won­der­ful ride for pre-school and pri­ma­ry stu­dents, and school libraries. For ages 4 – 7.
Bar­bara Bietz is a free­lance writer and children’s book review­er. She is cur­rent­ly a mem­ber of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee. Bar­bara is the author of the mid­dle grade book, Like a Mac­cabee. She has a blog ded­i­cat­ed to Jew­ish books for chil­dren at www​.Bar​baraB​Book​Blog​.Blogspot​.com.

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