This lovely story, told in rhyme, accompanies the young reader around the Jewish year, introducing Jewish holidays and their customs. Holiday customs are clearly delineated, and illustrations assist in making them visual for the reader. The tone of the story throughout is light and inclusive — as are the illustrations, which show children involved in all the customs, often along with their parents, in preparing for and observing the mitzvot relating to the holiday. The text and the illustrations both give a sense of close and loving family relationships. After the text, there is a two page wrap-up showing special days and holidays with their unique observances and “mitzvos we can do, to make Hashem so glad.” This section introduces “minor” holidays, including Tu Bishvat, Lag B’Omer, and the fasts, including the Tenth of Teves, Seventeenth of Tammuz, and Tisha B’Av, giving their backgrounds.
Endpapers are decorated with both the names of the holidays and symbols relating to the holidays — dreidel, Torah, seder plate, lulav and etrog, shofar, and Chumash.
The story is told from a traditional point of view and the illustrations confirm that, with synagogues separating the sexes and men and women dressed in garments that identify them as religious Jews. Hebrew is used in the illustrations and decorations, which is appropriate for children with Hebrew language familiarity. Translation or transliteration of these words would have been helpful.
This book is recommended for preschool classrooms for all denominations, as this can be an excellent introduction and discussion-opener for young children, and it is also recommended for homes that observe a traditional lifestyle. Ages 2 – 5.