Everyone’s favorite little spider is back with a new adventure and a new topic with which to educate young readers and listeners about Jewish life and culture. This latest escapade lands him at Josh’s cousin’s bar mitzvah where he watches the proceedings with great interest. He learns, as does the reader, about the synagogue rituals, both religious, such as the Torah reading, and fun, such as tossing candy in the direction of the bar mitzvah celebrant. As many very young children have never seen a bar mitzvah up close, this is a good topic for the age group. As usual, Sammy flirts with danger but is saved before disaster strikes and he returns at the end to his mother and his web to prepare (we hope) for further adventures.
This is the seventeenth book in the by now iconic series featuring endearing Sammy, his wise mother and the traditional Shapiro family. Katherine Janus Kahn’s bright, bold, cheery pictures evoke smiles and combine with Sylvia Rouss’ clever plots and clear to-the-point story-telling to meld into excellent picture book unity. The reader knows what to expect, can chant familiar lines, and is never disappointed but always comes away learning something new.
Recommended for ages 5 – 8.
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.