Engi­neer Ari and the Sukkah Express

Deb­o­rah Bod­in Cohen; Sha­har Kober, illus.
  • Review
By – August 30, 2011
In this sequel to the Syd­ney Tay­lor Hon­or Award win­ner Engi­neer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride, Engi­neer Ari dri­ves his train from Jerusalem to Jaf­fa, stop­ping along the way to col­lect fruit, branch­es, and a lulav and etrog for his sukkah from the friends he has made along his new route. After it is com­plet­ed with the help of his engi­neer friends, Jessie (a woman engi­neer!) and Nathaniel, he feels sad that his new friends can’t cel­e­brate Sukkot with him in his court­yard. But Jessie and Nathaniel sur­prise him by tak­ing his sukkah apart, reassem­bling it, and fas­ten­ing it to his train, so that he can share it at his stops along his way. Chil­dren learn much about the Sukkot hol­i­day and the sig­nif­i­cance of what is used to con­struct a sukkah. There is an author’s his­tor­i­cal note about the first train from Jerusalem to Jaf­fa in 1892. The read­er learns that Ari’s three new friends are named in Hebrew for the three dif­fer­ent branch­es in the lulav: myr­tle, wil­low, and palm, and that by count­ing the num­ber of times the names appear in the sto­ry, the num­ber of branch­es in the lulav will be revealed. The idea of the sukkah express, the appeal­ing illus­tra­tions and the engag­ing char­ac­ters will make this a hit with Jew­ish preschool­ers. For ages 4 – 8.
Andrea David­son is the librar­i­an of The Tem­ple-Tifer­eth Israel in Beach­wood, Ohio. She holds an M.L.S. from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan and is a for­mer mem­ber of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards Com­mit­tee. She enjoys try­ing out the books she reviews on the kids at the Tem­ple and on her grandchildren.

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