Shuki’s Upside-Down Dream

Yaf­fa Ganz; Dena Ack­er­man, illus.
  • Review
By – January 20, 2016

Sec­ond-grad­er Shu­ki is annoyed that his elder­ly Aunt Esther is com­ing to vis­it and he will be forced to give up his bed­room. He com­plains, Old peo­ple are as bad as babies. They need help for every­thing. They don’t even have any teeth! I’m not ever gonna be like that, no sir!” But then Shu­ki has a ter­ri­ble night­mare in which he is an old man with poor vision, no teeth, and wrin­kled skin. It’s his Aunt Esther, now a young woman, who is kind and help­ful. When Shu­ki wakes up, he has a new atti­tude and shows that he now under­stands the mitz­vah of V’Hadarta pney zakeyn,” respect­ing the elder­ly. Orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in 1986, this new edi­tion fea­tures updat­ed, full-col­or illus­tra­tions that depict a con­tem­po­rary Ortho­dox fam­i­ly. The text is unchanged — still a bit long, didac­tic, and pre­dictable. But fans of Yaf­fa Ganz, and oth­er sim­i­lar Jew­ish val­ues-cen­tered sto­ries, will appre­ci­ate this fresh, new take on an old classic.

Rachel Kamin has been a syn­a­gogue librar­i­an and Jew­ish edu­ca­tor for over twen­ty-five years and has worked at North Sub­ur­ban Syn­a­gogue Beth El in High­land Park, IL since 2008, cur­rent­ly serv­ing as the Direc­tor of Life­long Learn­ing. A past chair of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee and past edi­tor of Book Reviews for Chil­dren & Teens for the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries News & Reviews, her arti­cles and book reviews appear in numer­ous pub­li­ca­tions. She has been a mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Library Association’s Sophie Brody Book Award Com­mit­tee since 2021.

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