Chil­dren’s

Sam­my Spi­der’s First Yom Kippur

Sylvia A. Rouss; Kather­ine Janus Kahn, illus.
  • Review
By – August 12, 2013

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.


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.

Discussion Questions