The beautiful artwork and simple language of this unique book for very young Jewish children provides families with a satisfying bedtime ritual with which to end the day. Sarah Gershman has adapted the collection of psalms, poems, and prayers of the Kriat Sh’ma al HaMitah, into child-friendly verses that focus on themes of protection and preparing for sleep. Short prayers of a few sentences are written in large print with lots of appealing white space and accompanied by a peaceful bedtime scene. For example, these few words are spread over three pages:
“My child, may you lay down gently to sleep. And may God’s peace spread over you. May God who watched over those who were here long ago, watch over you. May God bless you and keep you safe. May God give you light when it is dark. May God help you grow and be happy.”
The accompanying serene and lovely artwork by Kristina Swarner, in hues of deep purples and blues, along with the flowing typeface design, make this a truly beautiful adaptation of the nighttime Sh’ma, invoking traditional nighttime blessings of peace and protection and helping to create a lovely new family ritual at bedtime. The author has included the adult version of the Kriat Sh’ma al HaMitah in both English and Hebrew at the end of the book. This engaging book won the 2008 Sydney Taylor Book Award for Younger Readers from the Association of Jewish Libraries. Ages 4 – 8.