Although this book has only one page that is nominally “Jewish,” the theme of love between parent and child and desire to make the world a better place is profoundly Jewish. The illustrations are spectacular, with each one worthy of framing. To help identify the different ethnic groups in the story, the illustrators choose a particular piece of cloth with a distinctive design to represent each nationality. Cherokee, Russian, Amharic, Japanese, Hindi, Inuktituit, Hebrew, English, Korean, Arabic, Quechua, and Danish languages are all used to express the message of love each child is given by his mother. Although clothes and language distinguish each ethnicity, the artists refrained from stereotyping the people portrayed; however, the costumes of each character are more traditional than modern dress. The Japanese woman is wearing a kimono, the Native American is wearing deerskin, etc. This is a beautiful book that points out the wishes and teachings that people everywhere share with their children.
Susan Dubin was the first librarian honored with a Milken Family Foundation Jewish Educator Award. She is the owner/director of Off-the-Shelf Library Services and library instructional consultant at Valley Beth Shalom Day School in Encino, CA.