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Excerpt - Here Is The World: A Year of Jewish Holidays

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Reviews - Here Is The World: A Year of Jewish Holidays

Read the Butler's Pantry Review on their blog site.

"With a warm, sing-song patter and exquisite illustrations, this lovely picture book introduces young children to a joyous year of Jewish holidays and celebrations. Highlighting the essence of each season's offerings, the rhyming text moves smoothly from a summer baby naming to autumn's Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot, and so on through the Jewish year ("Here is the sukkah, its roof made of twigs. Here are some grapes, pomegranates, and figs."). Yet the true stars here are the richly hued, digitally collaged illustrations, which add depth and whimsy. These pictures contain such warmth and life that readers will want to jump in and join the festivities. Each spread displays an abundance of colors and textures that work perfectly to create distinctive moods for the various holidays, whether it's a gregarious Simchat Torah parade, the warm glow of a Chanukah menorah, or the freshness of an early spring day planting trees for Tu B'Shevat. Back matter includes a more detailed description of each holiday, crafts, and recipes. A distinctive and welcome addition." - School Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews, for their August 15 issue.
The year's range of Jewish holidays and celebrations are presented in this repeating, rhyming chant that features key succinct elements for each. "Here are your parents, with arms open wide. / Here are your siblings, to stand by your side." Beginning in early fall, Newman carefully chooses a new baby girl's naming ceremony, not usually represented in other literature, followed by a Shabbat candle lighting, dinner and visit to the synagogue. She then launches into the high holy days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simhat Torah. Winter leads with Hanukkah, followed by Tu B'Shevat and Purim before the traditional spring celebrations of Passover and Shavuot. An early summer Shabbat picnic brings the year full circle. Bookending this annual list with Shabbat observances reflects the significance the Sabbath holds in Judaism.
Gal's illustrations provide a visual narrative, ending with a first birthday party for the baby named at the outset; the story culminates with her family marveling at the "ever-changing world" and wonder of their child. Charcoal drawings enhanced with digital collage create textured, festive scenes for each of the ceremonial traditions. Backmatter explanations fill out the basics (including the bris, or boys' welcome ceremony) with a specific craft or activity for each holiday. Both lovely and eminently useful.

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