In Israel, a young girl named Aravah and her family go on a scavenger hunt to find the "four species" they will use in their celebration of the Jewish holiday, Sukkot.
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PreSchool-Grade 2—An Israeli girl goes on a Sukkot "treasure hunt" with her parents to find the four items (date palm, willow, myrtle, and etrog fruit) used to celebrate the harvest holiday. They find the first three plants during a hike in the hills, and the last is offered by a friend who has an etrog tree in his courtyard. Each step of the hunt is illustrated by sun-dappled photographs of the charming child and her laid-back parents. Books on the Jewish celebration of Sukkot are few and far between, and this one is unique in its focus. An endnote describes the various plants the family sees and mentions that the Torah commands Jews to "take the branches and fruit of beautiful trees and rejoice" at harvest time. However, little explanation is offered on the symbolism and function of the plants in the observance. Readers unfamiliar with Sukkot may be mystified by the fuss made over them, and by the very brief mention of the sukkah built by the family. The book is well suited to observant audiences and will be a boon to Jewish educational institutions, but seems to lack the bridging material to bring other readers onboard.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL END
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