Archive for the ‘Rosh Hashanah’ Category

Book Review | Gershon’s Monster
by Eric A. Kimmel

Score: 5

Illustrated by John J. Muth © 2000, Scholastic, Inc. For the most part, we try to be on our best behavior throughout the year. We remember to say please and thank you. We speak kindly of and to others. We tell the truth. Of course, everyone makes an occasional mistake, and when we do we [...]

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Apples Dipped in Honey for Rosh Hashanah

In one week, we will be celebrating the beginning of a new Jewish year. For many years,  my family has welcomed in the New Year using the “Home Service for Rosh Hashanah”  found in All About Rosh Hashanah by Judyth Groner and Madeline Wikler, Illustrated by Bonnie Gordon Lucas. ©1997 Kar-Ben Publishing. We light the candles, say the blessing over the wine, bless the round challah and then dip a slice of apple into honey and say the blessing for a sweet New Year. After all that, we begin our holiday meal.

As I think about preparing for this tradition, however, I am reminded that bees are in trouble all over the world.  What if there was no honey for us to dip our apples in? Several new books have been published recently to warn of the bees’ plight and seek everyone’s help in looking out for them.

What’s the Buzz? Honey for a Sweet New Year by Allison Ofanansky. Photographs by Eliyahu Alpern. ©2011. Kar-Ben Publishing. Ages 4-9.  In this companion book to Harvest of Light and Sukkot Treasure Hunt, the author and photographer take us on a visit to the Dvorat Havator Bee Farm and Education Center in Israel to learn how bees collect pollen to make honey and to see how it is processed into the food we eat.

The Buzz on Bees: Why Are They Disappearing? by Shelley Rotner & Anne Woodhull. Photographs by Shelley Rotner.  ©2010. Ages 6-10. Holiday House, Inc. In 2006, Dave Hackenburg, a professional beekeeper noticed that all of his hundreds of hives were empty. The bees were not dead, they had disappeared.  This fascinating book explains why the vanishing of bees would be a terrible thing for the world. Bees do more than simply produce honey, they pollinate “one out of every three mouthfuls of food we eat.” That makes bees a pretty important insect.

The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe by Loree Griffin Burns. Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz. ©2010. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children.  Ages 8-12. This captivating book, part of the Scientists in the Field Series, delves deeply into the disappearance of bees around the world and the scientific search into the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). You will be reintroduced to Dave Hackenburg, the professional beekeeper who first discovered this frightening problem and to the beekeepers, farmers, scientists and the many others who are pursuing the various leads to the potential causes of the problem.

Honey: A Gift from Nature by Yumiko Fujiwara. Illustrated by Hideko Ise. ©2006. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, Inc.  Ages 3-6. This book, for the very young, looks at bees and how they make the honey we love so much. The language is simple and direct. The illustrations are beautiful and take on the colors of each season being discussed – the greens of spring, the warm yellows of summer, the autumn golds and reds, the greys of winter.  Because it was published before its discovery, this book does not go into the bee problem.  Nevertheless, for the very young, this is a perfect introduction to the wonders of how honey is made.

And with all of this honey, we should have some apples to dip it in, right?

One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert. Illustrated by Karla Gudeon.  ©2009. Blue Apple Books.  Ages 3-8.  Using simple language, this charming book takes us on a journey from picking apples to eating, to leaving some apples for the birds. Seeds fall, a tree grows – with a pull out page – and the cycle begins again. Karla Gudeon’s paintings are bright, bold, colorful and attractive.  Pair this book with What’s the Buzz? Honey for a Sweet New Year or Honey: a Gift from Nature and you will have a lovely read-aloud time with your family for the New Year.

Wishing you and yours a sweet, healthy and book-filled New Year.  L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu – May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year.

Happy Reading,

Kathy B.

©2011 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and all rights reserved.
Books used in this review came from my own collection, my local public library or the publisher as a review copy.
I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a book title referred to on my web site and purchase it from Amazon,

I may receive a very small commission on your purchase.

You will incur no additional cost, however.

I appreciate your support.

Talia and the Rude Vegetables

illustrated by Francesca Assirelli

© 2011, Kar-Ben Publishing.

Talia’s grandmother is making her family a stew to welcome in the New Year. She has asked Talia to go to the garden and “bring back seven root vegetables.” But Talia hears “rude” instead of “root” and wonders, how she will know if a vegetable has been rude?

As Talia digs up the vegetables – onions, garlic, carrots, turnips, potatoes, parsnips and rutabagas (is your mouth watering yet?) – she remembers times when her behavior has perhaps not been at its best and knows this is the time of year she needs to make some apologies to her family members. When Talia unearths a an “onery onion,” she puts that one in the pot, sending the perfectly round onion to the basket. She does the same for the “garish garlic,” “crooked carrot,” “terrible turnip,” well, you get the message. All the “rude” vegetables go to the pot for her family’s stew. The nice, perfect vegetables go in the basket, which Talia delivers to the rabbi to give to a family who may need it.

Talia’s mistake turns out fine in the end, for a vegetable is a vegetable after all. “Very sweet like you,” says her grandmother, because Talia had done a mitzvah by giving the extra basket of vegetables to the rabbi.

This is a charming book for younger children to convey the message of apologizing for our behavior (Teshuvah) at this solemn time of year. It also speaks about Tzedakah in a fun and interesting way.

The illustrations are soft, warm and lovely, while perfectly conveying the efforts Talia must exert to find the vegetables. There is a recipe for “Rude” Vegetable Stew in the back of the book that sounds delicious and may be a featured item on my family table this year

Grade Level: Pre-K – 2nd

Ages: 3-8

©2011 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and all rights reserved.
Books used in this review were provided by my local public library.
I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a book title referred to on my web site and purchase it from Amazon,

I may receive a very small commission on your purchase.

You will incur no additional cost, however.

I appreciate your support.

Book Review | Tashlich at Turtle Rock
by Susan Schnur & Anna Schnur-Fishman

Score: 3

Illustrated by Alex Steele-Morgan © 2010, Kar-Ben Publishing Families looking for a way to bring interesting Jewish ritual into their lives need look no further than this charming book. Annie and her family go on a hike as part of their Rosh Hashanah afternoon. During their hike, they make four stops. One to remember something [...]

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Book Review | Celebrate Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur
by Deborah Heiligman

Score: 3

© 2007, National Geographic Books. Part of the National Geographic Holidays Around the World Series, this is an excellent introduction to the High Holidays for young children and their families. Pages filled with colorful pictures of Jews around the world celebrating Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur accompany simple explanatory text describing these holidays. At the [...]

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