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On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (Aladdin Picture Books)
ISBN 0689838921 / 9780689838927 / 0-689-83892-1
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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) [via]