Sadie and the Big Mountain

Jamie Korn­gold; Julie Forten­ber­ry, illus.
  • Review
By – August 7, 2012

Sadie loves every­thing about school. But when Morah Sarah tells the class that they will mark Shavuot with a hike, like Moses did when he climbed Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, Sadie is very wor­ried that she won’t be able to com­plete the trek. Each day that week the teacher ded­i­cates part of the class to prepar­ing for the hike; tak­ing walks, dec­o­rat­ing walk­ing sticks, learn­ing about the Ten Com­mand­ments, mak­ing cheese blintzes for their snack. Sadie tries to con­vince her­self that she’ll have poi­son ivy, chick­en pox, or the flu on the day of the hike. When Rab­bi Jamie notices Sadie’s reluc­tance on the big day, Sadie tells her she’s afraid she won’t be able to climb the moun­tain. Rab­bi Jamie shows her the small hill they will climb, explain­ing that God chose Mt. Sinai over taller moun­tains to show that any­one can ascend high enough to reach God. A relieved Sadie skips and gig­gles with her friends all the way to the top.

Any­one who has ever felt ner­vous about a new chal­lenge will sym­pa­thize with Sadie and root for her to con­quer her fear. Julie Fortenberry’s illus­tra­tions pro­vide just enough detail to help young read­ers visu­al­ize Sadie’s class­room, bed­room, and the hill with­out over­whelm­ing them. Read­ers may won­der why Sadie’s par­ents are com­plete­ly absent from the text and illus­tra­tions, and why Morah Sarah seems not to notice her student’s ap­prehension. Nonethe­less, this is a charm­ing addi­tion to the short list of children’s books about Shavuot. Note that the cat­a­loging mate­rial indi­cates that the book includes a recipe for blintzes, but the fin­ished copy does not con­tain one.

High­ly rec­om­mend­ed for ages 3 – 6.

Read­ing Guide

Mar­ci Lavine Bloch earned her MLS from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land, a BA from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia and an MA in Eng­lish Lit­er­a­ture from Ford­ham Uni­ver­si­ty. She has worked in syn­a­gogue and day school libraries and is cur­rent­ly fin­ish­ing her term on the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Committee.

Discussion Questions