Kindergarten-Grade 3–Izzy and his family get ready for the Jewish New Year ceremony of Tashlich, when people toss pieces of bread into a body of water to represent throwing away their misdeeds. Izzy, Miriam, their mom, and their community make a sincere effort to reflect on their own behavior, to apologize to those they have wronged, and to offer forgiveness to those who have wronged them. The setting is based on the annual tradition at Manhattan Beach, CA. Poetic text and flowing autumnal illustrations support the contemplative nature of the tale. Emotions ring true: Izzy nervously puts off difficult apologies, but experiences a clean, wide-open heart once he has spoken up. At the same time, the characters are real and human: despite their efforts to be good, Izzy and Miriam quarrel, as siblings will. A short author’s note provides background about the holiday, but the story will be best appreciated by children already familiar with these traditions. However, the universality of emotion and the quality presentation make this book a good choice for multicultural New Year celebrations.
–Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children’s Library at Congregation B’nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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