Spending a day with a young boy as he tells us about his tour through Jerusalem to learn about the somber holiday of Tisha B’Av becomes an engaging read full of information despite the dry topic. Colorful photographs in a varied layout show readers what our narrator sees as he follows guides with his little brother and older cousin. They not only gaze at the city from above or right in front, but go deep under it to see centuries-buried sections of the Temple Wall. The children look down deeper than they can walk as they gaze though glass at ancient finds. They get a hands-on chance to do their own sifting in the Temple Mount archaeological dig. They hurry home before dark because their grown-ups need to eat before a day-long fast which children do not have to follow. Readers learn the history of our two temples, destroyed 70 years apart, but on the same day. They learn Tisha B’Av is a symbol of Jewish suffering and a day of mourning both Temples. Holiday customs include recalling other tragic events such as the Crusades, sitting on the ground rather than on chairs, reading Lamentations, not swimming, and not wearing leather. In a cute, pointed ending the baby knocks over the narrator’s block model of the Temple – just what Tisha B’Av is all about.
Recommended for readers ages 5 – 9.