The joy of welcoming a new baby into a Jewish home is portrayed in this dos-à-dos, dual-gender photo essay.
A big sister takes readers through her family’s experience from the time a new baby is expected to its arrival and ultimate welcoming ceremony. For a little girl’s naming, big sister explains the brit bat or simchat bat, done on the eighth day of the new child’s life. Similarly, a little boy’s naming is called a bris or brit milah. Friends and family join a rabbi for a little girl and a mohel and rabbi for a little boy. Presumably as the book is intended for very young children, the mohel’s performance of a circumcision is quietly left out, along with its religious significance. Instead, the rationale behind the choosing of names is described. Both babies are given names honoring a family member, and in both situations, the family gathers for a small reception “in the hope that our baby’s life will be sweet.” Korngold’s simple approach to this vital topic works well and is nicely coupled with clear, color photography of the same family documenting the activity of these two very special days. Each ceremony is depicted separately, with the stories converging in the middle with one large double-page circular view of a culminating festive family gathering.
A joyful and eminently useful book. (Picture book/religion. 2-7)