Jenny loves to jump. She is constantly jumping over cracks in the sidewalk and over fences with and without her pogo stick. Her jumping gets her in trouble in school, where she knocks over a box of caterpillars in the science room and bumps into the hot lunch cart in the cafeteria, splattering mashed potatoes in every direction. Her jumping annoys her friends who make fun of her, her teachers who ask her to stop, and her mother who does not allow her to jump in the house. Jenny becomes a hero when her teacher suggests a mitzvah project to help children in Uganda. Jenny decides she will jump 1,000 times without stopping and collects $1 a jump from her friends and family. The Jewish content is minimal, although one of the boys in the racially diverse class wears a kippah, the Hebrew alphabet is displayed on the blackboard, and the teacher mentions that their Ugandan project is a mitzvah. The word mitzvah is neither explained nor translated. The book does not elaborate on Jewish themes or values. Without the single mention of the unexplained word “mitzvah” this book could be about any group of children, not necessarily Jewish children. The brightly colored full page illustrations are cheerful and enhance the story. For ages 3 – 7.
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.