Yitzy Aims High

  • Review
By – March 29, 2021

It’s real­ly hard to be a kid and wait until your busy par­ent is fin­ished doing grown up stuff and is ready to pay atten­tion. Although impa­tient, Yitzy is friend­ly, help­ful, and imag­i­na­tive which helps him accom­plish his goals. He imag­ines his toys are real live friends, and the advice they give him may not be wise but is always well-inten­tioned. His almost lit­er­al flights of fan­cy are lots of fun. His toy dinosaur and bar­rel of toy mon­keys encour­age him to kiss a mezuzah, which is too high for Yitzy to reach and their advice does­n’t quite do the trick. But an adult acquain­tance named Mr. Gertz rolls by in his wheel­chair and he and Yitzy find they can help one anoth­er. Yitzy helps Mr. Gertz open a heavy door, Mr. Gertz helps Yitzy reach the mezuzah, and then, in return, Yitzy sug­gests a cre­ative way for Mr. Gertz to reach and kiss the same mezuzah from his chair; a per­fect exam­ple of how kind­ness and assis­tance build upon each oth­er to help all the par­tic­i­pants reach new heights. This is cer­tain­ly a worth­while les­son for a read­er to absorb.

This sim­ple sto­ry, with its clear and eas­i­ly under­stood theme, is accom­pa­nied by bright­ly col­ored illus­tra­tions com­plete with humor­ous touch­es and smil­ing faces. The amus­ing moments, through­out both the text and the art, keep the read­er engaged and focused on the basic but impor­tant mes­sage; offer­ing help ben­e­fits both the giv­er and the receiv­er. There’s not a sin­gle hint of didac­tic preach­ing here, just a sto­ry of a kind, friend­ly boy hav­ing fun while show­ing char­ac­ter and car­ing. The bright smiles in the illus­tra­tions will be reflect­ed on the faces of young readers.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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