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Posted September 28, 2009
Alfie is a very special puppy. He is loved by his family and in turn, loves those around him. And today, all those special people in his life have come to celebrate, for Alfie is becoming a grownup dog. Today he is celebrating his 'Bark Mitzvah!'
Author Shari Cohen has come up with a clever way to introduce children to the Jewish celebration of Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Through sweet little rhyming verses that are respectful of the traditions behind a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Cohen shows young readers what to expect when they too, prepare for their own celebration. At one point, Alfie is a bit nervous about all the attention and whether he'll remember what to say:
Soon there stood Alfie
Beaming and quite proud.
Then he began singing
In a voice clear and loud.
He stopped just a moment
For his heart beat with fright -
So many songs and so many prayers
Will I ever get it right?
The author includes mention of 'Alfie's own mitzvoth,' the obligatory picture taking, and the party where everyone has lots of fun and dances the hora.
The illustrations that accompany this charming book offer a soft and gentle look at a loving dog family. Alfie's expressions are the sort that make the reader want to pick him up and give the puppy a big hug. A CD of sing-along songs, with puppies barking in the background on some of them, bring a fun and cheerful addition to the book. There are five songs, with a mixture of happy, playful songs sung by children and adults, to inspirational tunes sung by Cantor Marcelo Gindlin, who truly has a beautiful voice.
While the simple story may be a bit too young for 13 year-olds preparing for their own Bar/Bat Mitzvah, it will certainly offer an excellent introduction to younger children.
Quill says: Alfie's Bark Mitzvah is a must-have for those wishing to teach their children about the Bar/Bat Mitzvah tradition.
Posted March 14, 2009
What an absolute joy it has been reading this book---the words, music and illustrations are truly a gift to all who read it! It doesn't matter what you faith is, because this books message is one we should all practice.
I believe that when I read a children's book it is always interesting to have a childs perception of the book. My eight -year-old grandson Johnny and I read this book together. Then I put the CD that comes with the book into my computer and turned the volume up high. As we listened to it I glanced over my shoulder and saw Johnny dancing in a way that only he could appreciate. I was having a "don't laugh" grandma moment.
Then he picked up the book and asked me if we could hear it again. He began to try and sing words that he has never heard before. After he was done he asked me why we weren't Jewish? I tried to explain to him why we are Christians and not Jewish. I thought I was doing a pretty good job explaining things to him until he asked me, "Grandma, you said that both Christians and Jewish people both believe in the same God, right?" I sad, "Yes we both believe in the God of Abraham. But we each worship in a different way."
Johnny was quiet for awhile and then said, "I like what the Jewish children get to do and I want to become Jewish. How do I do it?" All I could say was, "You'll have to ask your parents about that."
As our daughter-in-law came to pick up Johnny he was jumping up and down and talking so fast his words were mixed up. He finally calmed down and told his mom that he wanted to become Jewish. My daughter-in-law looked at me and said, "Sandy?" I just held up this precious book and said, "New book and Johnny loves everything in it."
This book should not only be in Jewish families, but also in the homes of people of other faith. The lessons are loud and clear. The greatest thing is love.
Whispering Winds Book Reviews