Shab­bat Monsters

Jen­nifer Tzivia MacLeod Yuri­ka Anto­nius, illus.
  • Review
By – January 19, 2016

Friend­ly and cheer­ful mon­ster-like crea­tures are the pro­tag­o­nists of this love­ly sto­ry told in rhyme. They all observe var­i­ous Shab­bat rit­u­als, singing Lecha Dodi loud­ly, light­ing the Shab­bat can­dles, mak­ing kid­dush, and eat­ing chal­lah. This new book both intro­duces Shab­bat for the young lis­ten­er and, at the same time, encour­ages tol­er­ance and accep­tance of oth­ers. A new mon­ster tries to break into the group but finds him­self exclud­ed and ignored, which sad­dens him. In a non-preachy fash­ion, the sweet sto­ry teach­es why this spe­cial day is about more than obser­vance, games, and good food. By includ­ing him, the mon­sters find the real mean­ing of Shab­bat. The mon­sters are cute and cud­dly, and not at all scary. 

One page of each two-page group­ing has text, fol­lowed by a col­or­ful, whim­si­cal, and fun-filled illus­tra­tion on the next page. 

Accep­tance of mon­sters who are differ­ent is beau­ti­ful­ly mod­eled. Sev­er­al Hebrew terms are includ­ed with­out def­i­n­i­tion, such as Kid­dush, Chal­lah, and Lecha Dodi, pro­vid­ing teach­able moments. Giv­en the pre­sen­ta­tion, this can be used as a trig­ger for var­i­ous top­ics of inter­est. Shab­bat Mon­sters is vol­ume one of a tril­o­gy called Jew­ish Mon­sters, which includes Chanukah Mon­sters and Kosher Mon­sters. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 2 – 5 at home and in struc­tured preschool environments.

Shelly Feit has an M.L.S. and a Sixth-year Spe­cial­ist’s Cer­tifi­cate in infor­ma­tion sci­ence. She is the library direc­tor and media spe­cial­ist at the Mori­ah School in Engle­wood, NJ.

Discussion Questions