Sam­my Spi­der’s First Shavuot

Sylvia Rouss; Kather­ine Janus Kahn, illus.
  • Review
By – February 13, 2012
How nice to have Sam­my Spi­der back! In this newest addi­tion to the Sam­my Spi­der pic­ture books on hol­i­days, young read­ers learn about Shavuot, the hol­i­day where God gave the Torah to Moses. As Mrs. Shapiro pre­pares for Shavuot by mak­ing blintzes, Sam­my and his moth­er watch from their web on the kitchen ceil­ing. Mrs. Spi­der explains to Sam­my what a recipe is, and points out that Shavuot cel­e­brates the first fruits of spring,” so Mr. Shapiro is prepar­ing straw­ber­ry top­ping for the blintzes. When Josh bursts into the room car­ry­ing a lit­tle Torah, Rouss draws the par­al­lel through Sammy’s dis­cus­sion with his moth­er that, like the instruc­tions in a recipe, the Torah con­tains the instruc­tions, or rules, to become a recipe for life. She tells him it includes the sto­ry of the Jew­ish peo­ple, and has rules about how to treat oth­ers with love, kind­ness, and respect.” Kahn’s col­or­ful, bright paper-cut illus­tra­tions accent the text, which is age- appro­pri­ate and just right for explain­ing Shavuot to young chil­dren. The sto­ry ends with a con­cise expla­na­tion of the hol­i­day. It notes that the mean­ing of Shavuot is weeks,” so the hol­i­day is called The Feast of Weeks, and since the words of Torah are said to be as sweet as milk and hon­ey, it is tra­di­tion­al to eat dairy, such as blintzes, on Shavuot. A step-by-step recipe for blintzes is includ­ed. This is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed as an addi­tion to the very few books explain­ing Shavuot that are avail­able for young read­ers. Ages 4 – 7.
Andrea David­son is the librar­i­an of The Tem­ple-Tifer­eth Israel in Beach­wood, Ohio. She holds an M.L.S. from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan and is a for­mer mem­ber of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards Com­mit­tee. She enjoys try­ing out the books she reviews on the kids at the Tem­ple and on her grandchildren.

Discussion Questions