Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Molly Cone & illustrated by Emily Lisker

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: April 30th, 2000
ISBN: 0-06-027944-3
Publisher: HarperCollins

This republication of a 1966 text with new illustrations explains the Jewish Sabbath. Giving context to today's Shabbat customs, Cone (Come Back, Salmon, 1992, etc.) recalls the story of Moses leading the Jews out of slavery and receiving the Ten Commandments. The fourth commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy,” refers to keeping a day of rest. She describes the traditional customs of lighting candles, studying the Torah, and enjoying a festive family meal as ways of marking the day. Two stories that illustrate the feeling of the Sabbath, instructions for crafts, and a recipe for Challah, the traditional braided bread, complete the text. Lisker’s (When the Beginning Began, 1999, etc.) acrylic-on-canvas, stylized illustrations are boldly colored and work best when depicting ancient times. Many of the modern families look strained and detached. People are frequently shown looking out of the corners of their eyes, which gives them a strange appearance. One black family is shown at their Shabbat table. They may be Ethiopian or American Black Jews, but the reader is given no hint of their background in the text. Since there are no other illustrations in which a dark-skinned person appears, the reader is left to ponder why the illustrator chose to be inclusive here. None of the illustrations depict modern Jewish boys and men who do not cover their heads with skullcaps or the ultra orthodox who wear black and do not shave their beards or cut their forelocks. A lyrical, sensitive text is not served well by its new illustrations. (Nonfiction. 6-8)