When (most of) these stories of Danny and the Jewish holidays appeared in Highlights for Children in the Fifties, Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family series was almost the only presentation of Jewish family life on library shelves; and to explain the holidays, librarians usually reached for Florence Mary Fitch's all-enlightening One God. The stories are still pleasant, thanks to Taylor's identification with kids and her storytelling skills; but alongside the competition (both fiction and nonfiction), they can't but seem mild, even tepid, and all-too-obvious. Still, gentle fictionalized instruction has never been altogether out of favor with kids (or, certainly, their parents), and may even be making a comeback; so there may be a place for Danny's first, unsuccessful attempt to blow the shofar (on Rosh Hashanah), his decision to patch up a quarrel with good-friend Bobby (on Yom Kippur), his gleeful "theft" of Grandpa's precious piece of matzo (on the first evening of Passover). Much of the content consists, however, of explanation by various adults: "On Hamishah Asar Bishevat," says Sunday School teacher Miss Strum, "we eat the fruits that grow in Israel to show our love for our ancient land." But, again, the warmth of feeling and the general vitality of the telling will effectively counter the didacticism—for many.
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