A family book to learn with and share for those inclined to this religious lifestyle.


“Hakaras Hatov,” the Jewish daily ritual of thanking God for everyday life, is explicated in simplistic verse in this personalized drawing workbook.

Beginning with the Modeh Ani, or morning prayer, a little girl, upon awakening in her bed, thanks Hashem (God) for ”making me, me!” As her day continues, she is grateful for her family, the mitzvos (good deeds) she is able to do, food she eats, her home and possessions, the natural world surrounding her, her health and, at night, once again for her warm bed. Each thank you is accompanied by a brightly hued watercolor illustration on the left side featuring an observant Jewish family in proper attire, complete with long skirts for girls and yarmulkes for boys. The right side provides a bordered blank page for children to draw their own corresponding thank-you picture as suggested—“Where do you live? Draw a picture of your house on this page.” Created for an Orthodox audience, this preschool-oriented introduction to daily prayer and gratitude is carefully designed and stands out by presenting a girl for its protagonist. Yet it pales compared to the award-winning, artfully rendered duo by Sarah Gershman, The Bedtime Sh’ma (2007) and Modeh Ani (2010).  

A family book to learn with and share for those inclined to this religious lifestyle. (Picture books/religion. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-929628-63-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Hachai

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2012

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Mixed-race children certainly deserve mirror books, but they also deserve excellent text and illustrations. This one misses...


This tan-skinned, freckle-faced narrator extols her own virtues while describing the challenges of being of mixed race.

Protagonist Lilly appears on the cover, and her voluminous curly, twirly hair fills the image. Throughout the rhyming narrative, accompanied by cartoonish digital illustrations, Lilly brags on her dark skin (that isn’t very), “frizzy, wild” hair, eyebrows, intellect, and more. Her five friends present black, Asian, white (one blonde, one redheaded), and brown (this last uses a wheelchair). This array smacks of tokenism, since the protagonist focuses only on self-promotion, leaving no room for the friends’ character development. Lilly describes how hurtful racial microaggressions can be by recalling questions others ask her like “What are you?” She remains resilient and says that even though her skin and hair make her different, “the way that I look / Is not all I’m about.” But she spends so much time talking about her appearance that this may be hard for readers to believe. The rhyming verse that conveys her self-celebration is often clumsy and forced, resulting in a poorly written, plotless story for which the internal illustrations fall far short of the quality of the cover image.

Mixed-race children certainly deserve mirror books, but they also deserve excellent text and illustrations. This one misses the mark on both counts. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63233-170-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eifrig

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Loewen’s story is a simple snapshot of kindergarten graduation day, and it stays true to form, with Yoshikawa’s artwork resembling photos that might be placed in an album—and the illustrations cheer, a mixed media of saturated color, remarkable depth and joyful expression. The author comfortably captures the hesitations of making the jump from kindergarten to first grade without making a fuss about it, and she makes the prospect something worth the effort. Trepidation aside, this is a reminder of how much fun kindergarten was: your own cubbyhole, the Halloween parade, losing a tooth, “the last time we’ll ever sit criss-cross applesauce together.” But there is also the fledgling’s pleasure at shucking off the past—swabbing the desks, tossing out the stubbiest crayons, taking the pictures off the wall—and surging into the future. Then there is graduation itself: donning the mortarboards, trooping into the auditorium—“Mr. Meyer starts playing a serious song on the piano. It makes me want to cry. It makes me want to march”—which will likely have a few adult readers feeling the same. (Picture book. 4-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5807-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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