On Sukkot and Sim­chat Torah

Cathy Gold­berg Fish­man; Melanie Hall, illus.
  • Review
By – May 14, 2012
A young girl nar­rates her family’s cel­e­bra­tion of Sukkot and Sim­chat Torah: build­ing and dec­o­rat­ing the sukkah, invit­ing the ush­pizin, eat­ing and sit­ting in the sukkah, bless­ing the lulav and etrog, going to the syn­a­gogue for Shem­i­ni Atzeret, march­ing and danc­ing on Sim­chat Torah, and lis­ten­ing to her moth­er chant from the Torah. As with the oth­er books in this series (On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kip­pur, On Hanukkah, On Purim, On Shab­bat, and On Passover) Fish­man places Sukkot and Sim­chat Torah with­in the con­text of the Jew­ish year — It feels good to be busy after the thought­ful still­ness of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kip­pur.” She also weaves inter­est­ing facts and con­cepts into the text, explain­ing how the lulav reminds us that God is every­where and how the lulav and etrog are like a per­son with a heart, lips, eyes, and back­bone. Melanie Hall’s soft, whim­si­cal, pas­tel illus­tra­tions com­ple­ment the mood and tone of the nar­ra­tion and beau­ti­ful­ly illus­trate the rich tra­di­tions of these two hol­i­days. For ages 6 – 10.

Rachel Kamin is the Direc­tor of the Joseph and Mae Gray Cul­tur­al & Learn­ing Cen­ter at North Sub­ur­ban Syn­a­gogue Beth El in High­land Park, Illi­nois. A past chair of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee, Rachel is cur­rent­ly the co-edi­tor of Book Reviews for Chil­dren & Teens for the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries Newslet­ter. She holds a BA in his­to­ry from Grin­nell Col­lege and a master’s degree in library and infor­ma­tion sci­ence from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michigan.

Discussion Questions