Young Sammy Spider and young Josh Shapiro are the perfect pair to bring tots an understanding of Yom Kippur’s tradition of forgiveness. This latest story in the Sammy Spider series about the inquisitive arachnid brims with Jewish content delivered with strong focus and kind attention to the tender age of the targeted readers. The active tale overflows with noise and chaos, just the opposite of the contemplative, serious holiday. Josh bursts in the door after school blowing his shofar. Naturally Sammy needs to know why. Mother spider, highly informed in the ways of humans and Jewish customs, explains. Josh next announces that for homework, he must list the people to whom he should apologize. His mom instructs that toys must be put away first. Josh cannot resist playing ball when he finds one in the mess. A hard bounce breaks the honey jar, knocks the shofar to the rug and shreds the spiders’ web. Oh no! Josh is aware he has disturbed the animals as well as his parents. He cleans up. He whispers a teary apology — to his parents and his spiders. Parents and spiders accept his apology. Lessons are learned in a direct and lovely way. “I’m Sorry” is internalized via spirited text and striking, joyous, mobile illustrations in strong colors. Highly recommended for ages 2 – 5, our pre-school gang.
Sammy Spider’s First Yom Kippur
Ellen G. Cole, the librarian of the Levine Library of Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles, is a past judge of the Sydney Taylor Book Awards and a past chairperson of that committee. She is a co-author of the AJL guide, Excellence in Jewish Children’s Literature. Ellen is the recipient of two major awards for contribution to Judaic Librarianship, the Fanny Goldstein Merit Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries and the Dorothy Schroeder Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries of Southern California. She is on the board of AJLSC.
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