A week-long unit on the holiday of Shavuot has one preschool class excitedly anticipating a planned reenactment of the hike Moses took up Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments.
Resourceful Sadie, of Sadie’s Sukkah Breakfast (2011), enjoys attending her temple preschool with its songs, play equipment and teacher, Morah Sarah. But when the idea of a hike is introduced as the culmination of the week’s focus, the Shavuot celebration, Sadie hates the idea. “Her hiking boots always hurt her feet. Her backpack was always too heavy. And there were never enough snacks.” As the week progresses, the children create their own walking sticks, learn about the Ten Commandments and make the traditional blintzes. Meanwhile, Sadie’s anxiety builds. She tells herself she will not have to hike if she comes down with chicken pox, contracts poison ivy or just catches the flu. However, Friday morning delivers a healthy but nervous Sadie, whose reluctance is finally assuaged by Rabbi Jamie with assurances that the small, easy-to-climb hill behind the temple grounds is the perfect place to recreate the symbolic hike. Detailed and colorful illustrations depicting a modern, female-led nursery program and a little girl’s fretful qualms artfully flesh out this reasonably intriguing story with its ultimate message of reaching God.
There are not many books that treat with this holiday; how fortunate that this is such a strong one. (Picture book. 3-5)