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GOOD NIGHT, LAILA TOV by Laurel Snyder


by Laurel Snyder & illustrated by Jui Ishida

Age Range: 2 - 4

Pub Date: March 27th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-375-86868-9
Publisher: Random House

The wonder of the natural world becomes more meaningful through active engagement with it.

A young family’s camping vacation makes two significant overnight stops, one at the seaside and one further inland in a lush green field. As parents set up tents, brother and sister feel the hot sand, marvel at the wide waves, breathe in the salty air and hear the wind’s English/Hebrew whisper of “good night, laila tov.” Similarly, while parents plant new tree seedlings in the field, children gather berries, are awed by field mice, surprised by bees and ultimately fall asleep to the rhythmic pattern of rain that mimics the “good night, laila tov” message. Bright, often full double-page scenes in deeply rich, opaque hues on textured paper bring out the natural essence of this sweet bedtime piece told in lilting rhyme. “We drove out to the oceanside. / The sand was hot. The waves were wide. / Tall grasses swayed. The salty air / Was soft and still and everywhere.” The continual assurance of its repetitive refrain, found on every other page, complements the theme of caring for nature’s beauty. Though the Judaic concept of tikkun olam, or repairing the world, is not explicitly stated within the text, it pervades the whole.

A wholesome and gentle story that's pleasant and soothing for little ones of all faiths, though it will have extra resonance in Jewish households. (Picture book. 2-4)