A Jewish family makes busy preparations as Shabbat (or Sabbath) approaches.
The text consists of rhymed couplets describing the activities, all followed by the title line as refrain: “Friday’s here. / Jump and cheer. / Shabbat is coming.” A boy, a girl, their mother and father, one set of grandparents and a helpful family dog gather to complete such tasks as braiding challah dough, setting the table, tidying up and putting coins in a special bank. The final line announces that “Shabbat is here!” as the family gathers at the dining-room table, where two candles, wine and challah adorn the table. Parents looking for a book to provide specialized Shabbat vocabulary will have to look elsewhere (for example, the challah bread and the practice of making tzedakah, donations for the needy, are not named or even labeled within the art). Despite this minor quibble, the bouncy verse and Garofoli’s richly colored, slightly three-dimensional cartoons against canvas-textured background provide a compelling introduction to the weekly celebration.
This playful depiction of a loving family gathering is a suitable introduction for observant families. (Board book. 1-4)