Even those not familiar with Rabbi Akiva’s monumental achievements will be moved by his devotion to learning and his wife’s...

READ REVIEW

DROP BY DROP

A STORY OF RABBI AKIVA

A devoted wife is the inspiration behind a noted scholar of Judaism.

Rachel, a rich man’s daughter, falls in love with a poor, illiterate shepherd named Akiva who works for her father. She recognizes that a man “with such goodness in his heart, who understood so much about life, must be smart.” Her father disowns her, but they marry and she encourages him to study even though he is 40. Akiva is reluctant, but one day he observes the power of water to slowly erode stone and realizes that “I can learn—just like water cuts through stone—a little bit each day.” He begins attending school with children, masters Hebrew, and then leaves home for many years to study Torah. Akiva becomes the revered sage of Judaism, “a wise rabbi followed by thousands of students.” His wife is never forgotten. The historical Akiva lived and studied in the first century CE, after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and worked to codify Judaism’s oral laws into the Mishnah portion of the Talmud. Jules has based her warmly told narrative on legends of the sage and his wife. Nayberg’s richly textured illustrations are stately and sculptural, depicting Rachel and Akiva with pale skin and red hair.

Even those not familiar with Rabbi Akiva’s monumental achievements will be moved by his devotion to learning and his wife’s loving encouragement. (author’s note) (Picture book/religion. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-2091-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Nevertheless, it fills a gap in the marketplace, hopefully paving the way for stronger fare.

SAM AND CHARLIE (AND SAM TOO!)

Not even the worthy subject matter can overcome the herky-jerky writing in this rare glimpse into everyday Jewish life.

Over four short chapters, a boy and a girl become good friends in spite of misunderstandings. When Sam overhears that the new kid next door is named Charlie, he’s initially thrilled to find a playmate. To his surprise, he discovers that both Charlie and her little sister Sam (or “Sam Too”) are girls. That makes little difference, though, since Charlie’s a stellar buddy. The chapter on “Sharing” tests that new friendship when both Sam and Charlie crave the last prune hamentaschen. They’re closer after Sam aims to cheer up Charlie on “Sick Day,” but “The Bad Haircut” undoes that good with a callous comment. Finally on “I’m Sorry Day,” aka Yom Kippur, the two apologize, and hilarity ensues. The text’s level of difficulty is ideal for the emerging reader taking baby steps into chapter books, but even the great subject matter (the everyday lives of Jewish kids) can’t make up for abrupt transitions between those chapters, lines like “Friendship is the best medicine,” and odd lessons on losing on purpose to keep a friendship going. Tambellini’s illustrations complement the action beautifully but cannot save the weak writing.

Nevertheless, it fills a gap in the marketplace, hopefully paving the way for stronger fare. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8075-7213-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

TASHLICH AT TURTLE ROCK

Tashlich, a Jewish custom performed during the high holidays, symbolizes the throwing away of last year’s sins by discarding crumbs into a body of water. On the afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, Annie, who’s “in charge” this year, creates a special outing for her family where they will perform the ritual and a few added observances. Following her lead, they hike through the woods and stop at different locations along the trail to remember the good and bad of the past year, make a promise to keep in the new year and then eat apples dipped in honey to welcome the beginning of a sweet year to come. The long yet straightforward narrative depicts an environmentally conscious, traditional family eager to share the acknowledgement of their mistakes and good memories. Annie’s likable bossiness helps the necessarily explicative text go down easy. Gouache on textured paper emulate pointillism, depicting fall foliage dominated by auburn, brown and green colors. An author’s note encourages families to find unique ways to practice this low-impact yet spiritually rich custom. (Picture book/religion. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7613-4509-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more