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BEFORE WE EAT by Jacqueline Jules


A Thank You Prayer

by Jacqueline Jules & illustrated by Melissa Iwai

Age Range: 2 - 4

Pub Date: March 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7613-3954-0
Publisher: Kar-Ben

A Jewish family sits down to eat. “Bread and butter on my plate. / I’m so hungry, I can’t wait. // But before I take a bite, / I say some words / that feel just right.” The unidentified narrator (a yarmulke-topped little boy or a curly-headed little girl, both early-elementary age in Iwai’s illustrations) briefly describes the hamotzi blessing, thanking God for “[g]ood food, a home, a family.” The full blessing appears on the last page in both transliterated Hebrew and a loosely translated English. This well-meaning book falls short. The two kids are too old for babies—presumably this format’s target audience—to identify with. Children in observant families will have heard hamotzi from their earliest days; an explanation is better suited to preschool children, who are full of whys, than babies and toddlers, but this vehicle is too young for them. (Board book. 2-4)