Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, dear friends! I’ve always loved folktales…and today’s featured book, SHOSHI’S SHABBAT by Caryn Yacowitz, is a retelling of an old Jewish tale that has an important message for all of us today.
Shoshi’s Shabbat (Candlewick Press, October 2022), illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, was named among the Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2022 by Tablet Magazine and was included in the Association of Jewish Libraries Fall Holiday Highlights 2022.
It’s a story based on midrash (ancient Jewish tales) that speaks to the joys of a day of rest. Hawkes’ delightful illustrations bring out the humor in the story as Shoshi, an adorable but stubborn young ox, teaches her master an important lesson.
Written by Caryn Yacowitz
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Published by Candlewick (2022)
Themes: Shabbat, life balance, Jewish folktale
Synopsis: From Amazon
The virtues of taking a break—and of being thankful—are extolled in the gentle story of a stubborn ox, an impatient farmer, and a day of rest.
Long ago, in the hills near Jerusalem, lived a young ox. For six days each week, she and her owner would toil in the fields, and on the seventh day both would rest. Then it came to be that this young ox was sold. For six days, she toiled in her new owner’s fields, and on the seventh day the farmer brought out the yoke and plow, expecting to spend another day hard at work. But Shoshi the ox had a different idea. In a warm, friendly narrative and vivid, humorous art, author Caryn Yacowitz and illustrator Kevin Hawkes bring to life a tale drawn from the ancient Jewish stories known as the Midrash, a story as relevant today as it was long ago. It’s a tale of encountering other cultures and learning from them, of paying attention to the world around you—sun, breeze, animals, people—and above all, of learning to slow down and take a break.
Why I Love This Book:
1. I love that this is fabulous story retold in a kid-friendly accessible way, with heart and humor!
2. I love the illustrations – they are fabulous…Kevin Hawkes (of Library Lion and Chicken Cheeks fame) captures the emotions of all of the characters and puts us right in the setting.
3. I love that the story shows us how two different cultures can learn to live side by side.
I love both of these craft activities…and I love the widespread appeal of candle-making and creating a container to hold money that will be donated to those in need. Check out the detailed instructions and other fun crafts here: https://www.creativejewishmom.com/shabbat-crafts/
If you have kids at home, I hope you try one or both of these craft activities. And if you’d like a chance to win the fabulous giveaway, a 30-minutes Ask-Me-Anything Zoom Chat with author Caryn Yacowitz, please leave a comment below – and please share the post so we can spread the word about this wonderful book! Remember that authors and illustrators need our help. You can buy the book, review the book, and ask your local library to purchase copies of the book.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I’ll leave you with a photo from a week ago Wednesday when I delivered over 200 books from the #50PreciousWords Literacy Initiative to three schools in Nashua, NH: Ledge Street Elementary, Mount Pleasant Elementary, and Elm Street Middle School. The library media specialists were THRILLED! A huge thank you to all of the folks who purchased books at Balin Books and/or mailed books to me.