Book Review | First Rain
by Charlotte Herman

Score: 4

Illustrated by Kathryn Mitter

© 2010, Albert Whitman & Company.

Abby is sad because she and her family are leaving her grandmother in America and making aliyah (literally,going up) to Israel. However, from the start, Abby and her grandma stay in touch by letter, telephone and internet as Abby shares her feelings and describes everything she is seeing, learning and doing in Eretz Yisrael/the Land of Israel. From the Western Wall to the Dead Sea and from eating falafel to riding camels, Abby gives her grandma a delightful tour of her new country. Throughout it all, Abby shares the new Hebrew words she is learning. Finally, on the day of the first rain in Israel, Abby’s savta/grandma comes for her first visit.

With language easy enough for a beginning reader, and entertaining enough for lap time reading, this is a wonderful story for the entire family. The illustrations, acrylic paint on Bristol board, are clear, colorful and depict Israel beautifully. My only critique is the picture of Abby’s classroom where the books are drawn as opening from left to right (English style) rather than right to left (Hebrew style). With as much excitement as Abby expressed with learning Hebrew, this small but significant over-site seemed to jump out at me.

Overall, however, with so few books available about modern Israel, and especially modern Jewish families returning to Israel, this is an excellent book to have on the shelf.

Grades K – 3rd

©2010 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and all rights reserved.
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