A walk through her neighborhood on a lovely fall day filled with sunny blue skies finds Maya meeting many of her neighbors outdoors. Each neighbor is using the perfect weather to his or her advantage. One family is loading their car for a picnic, one is painting their fence with slow drying paint — only good on a day without rain — and one is hosting a daughter’s birthday in the backyard, complete with hidden treasures. Maya’s friend, Wendy, mentions that today, Shemini Atzeret, will be the day Jews go to synagogue to pray for rain. Maya is devastated by the idea of rainfall later in the day, and takes it upon herself to run through the neighborhood, warning all her neighbors to cancel their outdoor plans, as the rain will be coming. She even runs to the rabbi to ask him NOT to say the prayer for rain today. The kindly rabbi explains to her that she need not be worried, as the prayer is actually said for rain in Israel, so that crops and flora will grow there during the year; he assures her it will not cancel her neighbors’ outdoor plans.
The story is followed by a paragraph explaining the significance of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret in the Jewish calendar.
Colorful and animated age-appropriate illustrations perfectly enhance the text. Beautiful pictures of trees, butterflies, green backyards, and trees changing color for fall illustrate the pages and reflect the season.
This lovely story introduces Maya’s neighbors, many with varied ethnic backgrounds, as well as Jewish holidays and shows the strong sense of relationship between all the neighbors. This is both an introduction to the holidays of Sukkot, Simchat Torah, and Shemini Atzeret and also provides a connection to the land of Israel, giving much Jewish content and engendering Jewish connections as part of a pre-school story.
Recommended for ages 4 – 7 and good for use both in the home and the classroom.