A little girl watches a poor man take a bruised apple from the market’s discard pile and finds a way to help him.
Sara’s keen observation from her apartment window makes her wonder if the man is hungry all the time and if he might need a friend. In school, she keeps thinking about him, and at snack time, she saves her cookie to leave by the discard fruit bin the next day. At the oneg Shabbat after services on Friday, Sara recognizes the man eating challah and drinking grape juice. She then creates and leaves a Hanukkah goody bag complete with a homemade menorah, latkes, and cookies. When the rabbi tells her that his name is Morris and that he lives alone and helps each Friday with setting up for the reception, Sara then decides to invite him for a Shabbat and Hanukkah dinner. The importance of tzedakah, or giving to those less fortunate, is the overlying theme in this gentle story about generosity and caring for others, something to be mindful of each Shabbat and on Hanukkah. Full-bleed paintings show exaggerated and elongated cartoon-style figures living in an ethnically diverse urban neighborhood. Many scenes are viewed from below, offering a child’s perspective, and light and shadows from a sunny window are also some of the many artistic details that give this narrative depth.
A sweet and compassionate introduction to an important Jewish custom. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)