A simple Sukkot story that focuses on the concept of helping those in need.

THE BEST SUKKOT PUMPKIN EVER

Many families from Micah’s synagogue are picking pumpkins for a soup kitchen.

Micah asks his mother, “What’s a soup kitchen?” She explains, and his dad adds the definition of tikkun olam, the Jewish concept of doing good deeds, or “repairing the world.” As a reward for their good work, each child will receive a pumpkin. Micah wants to find a large one for Sukkot, the Jewish harvest festival. After picking pumpkins all day, he finally gets ready to choose, but when he finds a gigantic one, he remembers the soup kitchen. Farmer Jared gently tells him that the big pumpkins are not good for cooking but can be used to make “a wonderful decoration.” The boy finds “a perfect little pumpkin” and dreams of his Sukkot meal but realizes that his family has enough food and other people need the perfect pumpkin more than he does. He adds it to the donations and accidentally steps on a rotten pumpkin. As the farmer explains that this pumpkin will serve as compost, Micah discovers the best pumpkin of all—the seeds to grow his own—“for next year.” Micah and his family are white, but there are Asian and black synagogue members. There are few details about the celebration, but the colorful paintings are humorous and show the sukkah with its harvest decorations.

A simple Sukkot story that focuses on the concept of helping those in need. (afterword, activities) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0865-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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Proving even pooped piggies are ready to party, this will make children want to join in.

PIG HAS A PLAN

From the I Like To Read series

A noisy barnyard is no place for a nap!

Poor pig, all he wants to do is take a short snooze. However, there seems to be something going on around him. Each of his farm friends is making noise of one kind or another. “Hen wants to saw.” “Dog wants to tap.” “Hog wants to hum.” Pig looks closer and closer to fainting from exhaustion until he spies some drinking straws and has an idea. He sinks himself in his mud puddle and breathes through a straw snorkel. He’s finally able to catch some Z’s…but all those barnyard noises had a purpose: prep for a piggy birthday celebration. So much for napping! Long’s entry in the I Like to Read series tells its simple tale in 47 words, nearly all of which are of the single-syllable, easy-to-sound-out variety. Bright pastel-and-primary full-bleed illustrations featuring big-eyed farm folk will keep eyes on the page during storytime or guided independent reading. The visual humor and the easy-reading text make this a winner for readers just starting out.

Proving even pooped piggies are ready to party, this will make children want to join in. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2428-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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