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.