Susan Kantor was a senior writer/editor for Girl Scouts of the USA, a children’s book editor, and a past judge for the National Jewish Book Awards in the illustrated children’s book category. She is a writer and a docent at the Rubin Museum in New York City, where she leads public and private tours.
Sammy Spider’s First Day of School
The ever-curious Sammy Spider, starring in his 11th title, drops down from the ceiling, where he lives in a web with his mother, and hitches a ride to Jewish preschool in Josh’s backpack. “Boker Tov! Good morning!” says the teacher, who uses the story of Noah’s Ark to engage the children in a discussion about “an important Jewish value”— kindness to animals. But when the little spider is discovered, a child wants to step on him. Josh picks Sammy up, shows his classmates there’s nothing to be afraid of, and they then take turns holding him. Josh’s mother is proud that he has helped his classmates understand what it means to be kind to animals, and Sammy’s mother is happy that her son has made lots of new friends. The text moves along clumsily, but illustrator Katherine Janus Kahn’s brightly-colored cut shapes add much visual interest, energy and pizzazz to the story. Ages 3 – 6.
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