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As she and her family celebrate these two Jewish holidays, a young girl contemplates their meaning in her life.
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On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur describes the tradition and philosophy behind these Jewish holidays. Cathy Goldberg Fishman writes from a child's perspective, which frees the text from being preachy or didactic, and lends a warm feel to this quiet, lovely book. At no point does the young protagonist imply that her experience of the holidays is the best way to do things; she simply gives readers an unbiased, gentle narrative.
Children rarely share the adult preoccupation with calendars, and accordingly, the young girl recognizes the holiday season in terms of tangible cues--she notices an influx in mail, sees the leaves begin to change colors, and "feel[s] the air change from warm and stuffy to cool and crisp." The holiday foods are round and sweet, the shofar sounds like someone sobbing, and a day of fasting means books instead of snacks. When her grandmother says that Rosh Hashanah is "the day when God created the world," the girl and her brother make a quick, youthful interpretation--it's time to say happy birthday to the world.
Melanie Hall's illustrations are enchanting; rich watercolors are at times painted over fabrics such as burlap and lace, at others piled on top of each other in a collage. The figures in the pictures appear peaceful and airy--so light it seems they may float off the pages at any moment. These evocative paintings, along with a helpful glossary and pronunciation guide, combine to charm children of all faiths. (Ages 5 and older)From School Library Journal:
PreSchool-Grade 3. This companion volume to the author and illustrator's On Passover (Atheneum, 1997) offers a basic, but solid introduction to the customs and symbols of the Jewish New Year and Day of Repentance that can be understood by both Jewish and non-Jewish children. The young narrator describes her family's preparation for each holiday, succinctly explaining the meaning and use of each symbol in both home and synagogue. Italicized Hebrew words are identified in a one-page glossary. Hall's skillfully blended, autumn-toned, mixed-media illustrations show the young girl interacting with her family as they celebrate the two special days. Layers of paint and oil pastel or crayon add texture and depth, sometimes producing a scratchboard effect. Lace and woven materials are either printed or used as an underlay to the paint. The illustrations are tied together through the inclusion of small cards bearing traditional New Year's greetings. A clear, interesting, attractively illustrated introduction to these holidays.?Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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