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.