YOM KIPPUR SHORTSTOP

Jacob makes a very difficult decision about his participation in his Little League team’s championship game.

Jacob plays second base for the Lions and has never missed a game. He is dedicated to his team and takes his coach’s philosophy of team spirit to heart. But the big game is to be played on Yom Kippur, the most holy day of the Jewish year. It is a day of fasting for adults, and the family will pray in the synagogue for the whole day. Jacob grapples with his problem for days and even brings his uniform to the synagogue. He prays for his family and friends and other, less spiritual things. He hears the rabbi speak of humanity’s interconnectedness and of the power of prayer and commitment. Although he heads for the game, he changes his mind and returns. Jacob narrates his own story in the immediate present tense, maintaining the suspense throughout. Jacob will appeal to young readers for his earnest and heartfelt solution to his problems. Ceolin’s softly hued illustrations depict a truly diverse community. Jacob’s family is dark-haired with pale skin, while the team has boys and girls of many colors. Even the Jewish congregation is a mixture from fair- to brown-skinned. Adler’s concluding note is a sweet homage to Jewish ballplayers who have had to make the same decision.

Uplifting. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68115-521-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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A sweet Pesach indeed.

A PLACE FOR ELIJAH

Everyone is welcome at the Seder table, but will there be a seat for the Prophet Elijah?

Sarah and her family joyously prepare for Passover's first Seder. They set the table with an extra place and seat for Elijah, and the door is left open so he can come in. They begin the Seder with a special prayer for their neighbors across the street, whose shops and apartments are without power on this unseasonably cold and rainy night. Music Man Miguel, Doughnut Dan, Bagel Ben, Mrs. Faaiz the florist, and the young boy who sells magazines are all in the dark. One by one these neighbors are drawn to the light and warmth of Sarah’s home. As each one is welcomed and provided with a seat at the table and with wonderful, savory food, Sarah sets another place for Elijah. The final visitor is the young boy who is given the only remaining chair. Sarah is really worried until she asks the boy his name. “You never know how Elijah comes, only that he does.” Ruben seamlessly weaves information about Passover and its traditions into a tale of a loving family with open hearts that fully embrace the spirit of this ancient holiday. Though a bit stiff, Friar’s carefully detailed illustrations, set in blues and yellows, beautifully complement the events.

A sweet Pesach indeed. (afterword) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4677-7841-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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A mildly stimulating and challenging exploration of the holiday.

ABC PASSOVER HUNT

An alphabet book employs a series of riddles and puzzles to engage children in the recognition of the various aspects of the Passover holiday.

An initial search to find all the letters in a double-page illustration features a typical table set for the Seder meal. This is followed by 24 rhymed questions posed in alphabetical order that present a variety of customs, symbols, characters, and concepts of the holiday. For example, the letter B is represented by “Baby Moses,” and readers are asked to choose the correct boat used to float the baby on the Nile. Children are offered a multiple-choice assortment of picture clues that are drawn in a clear, simple cartoon style. In the case of Moses, the vessels include a leaf, a cardboard box, a woven basket, an inner tube, a rowboat, and a rubber ducky. Some of the inquiries are straightforward or obvious for the holiday, while others, such as the page that addresses slavery, require some thinking and possible discussion. A variety of methods are also used to achieve the answers, such as solving a maze and reading a map. Others may require actual knowledge of the subject posed, such as the one on the 15th of Nisan, the Hebrew day and month that Passover begins. Together these short games can be used as an impetus to discuss the holiday's story and significance or to retell its various aspects.

A mildly stimulating and challenging exploration of the holiday. (author’s note, answer key) (Picture book/religion. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4677-7843-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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