It's Tot Shabbat!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Joining the It's Time! series, this photographic picture book centers on a preschool class at a synagogue: "while the grown-ups pray, in another room the children play." Cohen's photographs—some candid, some posed—show the children reading about Noah's Ark (then pretending to be the animals in the story), building a Tower of Babel out of cardboard blocks (it tumbles down soon after), enjoying a snack, and eventually rejoining the congregation. A straightforward and reassuring account of ways children celebrate Shabbat. Ages 1–4. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
The only word suitable to describe this book is "delightful!" Preschool children come with their parents to the temple on Friday evening. While the parents attend services, the children play in a separate room. They build with blocks, play with dolls, run trucks around the room, and then they have a snack. They say the blessings over the juice and bread, and they take stuffed Torahs from a special Ark. It all seems to be great fun, and is a lovely introduction to the Temple and to Shabbat services. The children are not all the same age; in fact some of them look six or seven, and capable of helping the youngest ones. It's altogether very refreshing. A glossary is helpful, too. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
School Library Journal
PreS—This entry depicts a synagogue Shabbat Club where young children play while their parents attend services. Mixed in with blocks and games like ring-around-the-rosy are listening to a story from the Torah, prayers, and a Shabbat snack of challah and grape juice. Finally, the children join their parents in the sanctuary for the concluding prayers. The title of the book is somewhat misleading since many synagogues define Tot Shabbat as a family-friendly worship service-see Paula Feldstein's The Tot Shabbat Handbook (Urj Press, 2009)—as opposed to a separate baby-sitting scenario. This "what to expect" photo-essay will be most useful in congregations using the model depicted. The text is simple, and despite the inclusion of a basic glossary, the story is clearly meant for readers familiar with Shabbat. Hebrew, English, and transliterated blessings for wine and bread are included at the back. The color photos are realistic and sweet, if a bit cluttered. The style of dress implies non-Orthodox Judaism, and the boys are inconsistent in keeping their heads covered. Several photos near the end of the book may disturb some readers, as they show children holding toy and miniature Torahs upside down or sideways. This may make the book unacceptable in some Jewish settings.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761345152
  • Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 24
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A good lesson for young children

    It's Shabbat and everyone is heading for the synagogue, but while the grown-ups are praying all the little children will play. It's a fun time when all the boys and girls get together in their "Shabbat Club." One little boy isn't quite sure he will like the club, but later on he's sure to have some fun. There are many things to play with including blocks, toy cars, and even a basket of farm animals and dinos. The club is a great place to "make new friends." There is also the time when the Torahs are removed from a cabinet so everyone gets a chance to hold one. Of course there are big smiles all around! It's circle time in the Shabbat Club and it's time to listen to a story. Everyone clusters around the teacher, eager to hear the story of Noah's Ark. Pretending to be an animal from the ark is lots of fun ... grrrrr! There are other stories to be told and one of them is about the Tower of Babel. Up go the big blocks, but all the children know that the "workers didn't cooperate, and the tower fell down." There are many things to do in the club, but at the end there is always time for a Shabbat snack. The table is set and when everyone is ready they say the brachah before they have "a cup of grape juice and a piece of challah." After the snack it's off to the sanctuary "to the bimah to sing `Adon Olam' with the whole congregation." Shabat Shalom ... until next week when the club meets again! This book is an excellent way to introduce the preschooler to Shabbat activities. Whenever any situation is introduced for the first time it is often difficult for little ones to adjust, especially if they don't know what will happen. When one little boy was brought into the Shabbat Club he looked rather uncertain, something that happens frequently. As the author perfectly stated: "Sometimes we feel shy. Sometimes we feel friendly." The portrayal of this realistic situation will make it easier for the tentative child to see that Shabbat can be a fun time and is something to look forward to. This "Tot" Shabbat was full of smiles and the story, told both in words and pictures, illustrates the fun to be had. In the back of the book is a glossary, a blessing to be said over the wine, and one over the bread (these also are in Hebrew script). Quill says: If you have a preschooler who will be going to the synagogue with you, this is one book you should consider!

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