I Say Shehechiyanu

Joanne Rock­lin; Moni­ka Fil­ip­ina, illus.
  • Review
By – June 3, 2015

A young girl expe­ri­ences new begin­nings through­out the sea­sons and finds oppor­tu­ni­ties to say She­hechiyanu at each occa­sion. She­hechiyanu is described as a Jew­ish bless­ing said when some­thing takes place for the first time, or when it hap­pens again after a long time, and we are thank­ful to expe­ri­ence it.” (This age appro­pri­ate explana­to­ry quote pre­cedes the first page of the sto­ry.) Fall includes new class­rooms and Rosh Hashanah, with its round chal­lah, apples dipped in hon­ey, and pome­gran­ates, and also the first meal in the sukkah. Win­ter brings the first snow and light­ing Chanukah can­dles for the first night. The nar­ra­tor’s sense of awe, appre­ci­a­tion, and grat­i­tude are pal­pa­ble on each occasion. 

The sto­ry is also pre­ced­ed by the text of this bless­ings, translit­er­at­ed into Eng­lish, and a trans­la­tion of the mean­ing of the bless­ing. It is a per­fect book for use in the Ear­ly Child­hood class­room, when dis­cussing bless­ings and giv­ing thanks, and also can be an intro­duc­tion to Jew­ish hol­i­days either at home or in school. 

Sweet full-col­or pas­tel illus­tra­tions, replete with fam­i­lies gath­ered around the table for the hol­i­days and which exem­pli­fy events dur­ing the Jew­ish year, such as braid­ing the chal­lah dough and recit­ing the four ques­tions at the Passover seder, per­fect­ly com­ple­ment the sto­ry. Ele­ments of nature and its won­ders are also illus­trat­ed through love­ly pic­tures of a snowy day, birds fly­ing in spring over new­ly sprout­ing flow­ers, and a full moon out­side a win­dow. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 3 – 7
Shelly Feit has an M.L.S. and a Sixth-year Spe­cial­ist’s Cer­tifi­cate in infor­ma­tion sci­ence. She is the library direc­tor and media spe­cial­ist at the Mori­ah School in Engle­wood, NJ.

Discussion Questions