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When I First Held You: A Lullaby from Isarel

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More About This Book

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
There’s a wonderful quote from one of the great Jewish sages on the final page of this book: “The day you were born is the day God decided that the world could not exist without you.” The lullaby that unfolds on the preceding pages isn’t nearly as vivid, but it’s pretty enough. Mirik Snir’s text croons how all of creation lauded the arrival of a beloved baby: “Rain tapped a song/ Rocks rolled along/ The sea waved with glee/ When I held you close to me.” Eleyor Snir’s vignettes of land, sea and sky have a strong decorative arts feel—there’s a soupçon of endearing visual detail in the animal families that appear (the pink fur of baby monkeys, the toothy grin of a whale pod) intermingled with curvilinear shapes and undulating motifs that convey the sense of the whole world being gently rocked. The human mother and child who appear in the final scene are the least visually interesting inhabitants, but the idea of just how much little ones are treasured—by parents of every shape, size and species—comes through nonetheless. Ages 3–8. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
PreS—This gentle lullaby is illustrated with soft jewel-toned paintings. Loving animal families cuddle on the spreads, and the natural world celebrates the arrival of a new human baby, pictured on the last page in mother's arms. The brief rhyming text is enhanced by the peaceful, cozily rounded artwork. There is a place to add a child's photo at the back of the book and a lovely quote in Hebrew and English: "The day you were born is the day God decided that the world could not exist without you," making the book a perfect gift for new parents. Other than the Hebrew quote—from Rabbi Nachman of Breslov—and the Israeli origin, the book contains no overt Israeli or Jewish content, and the emotion of the story has universal appeal. The only thing missing is music—neither sheet music nor a recording is provided, and no further information about the original lullaby is listed to help track down the song. However, even without a tune, the lyrical text and relaxing pictures will make the book a welcome addition to the bedtime ritual for children of all backgrounds.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Kirkus Reviews
This soothing, rhythmic lullaby from a prolific Israeli author celebrates the beauty, harmony and joy in the natural world as it welcomes a new baby. "On the day you were born / Mountains bowed down / Rivers ran ‘round / Trees were drumming / Flowers strumming / Grasses humming . . . " A mother's ecstatic love is mirrored by the wind's, moon's and sun's caresses, blessings and love. Nature's joy is evident as the clouds dance and the rain sings. The author's daughter Eleyor Snir provides full-bleed double-page spreads that feature delicate, jewel-toned folk-art-style paintings of blissful animal families set against patterned backgrounds. These foreshadow the last, tender scene, in which an adoring new mother cradles her newborn child. The unassuming and calming melodious text, fluidly translated by Shubow, will certainly encourage serenity and comfort at the end of each day. (Picture book. 2-4)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761350989
  • Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Series: Kar-Ben Favorites Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    How does a mother feel when she holds her baby for the first time?

    Can you imagine how a mother feels when she holds her baby for the first time after it's born? Author Mirik Snir, a mother of nine and grandmother of thirteen who lives in Israel, shares this lyrical lullaby that captures the bond between parents and children at the moment of birth. "On the day you were born, Mountains bowed down, Rivers ran 'round.." Translated from the Hebrew by Mary Jane Shubow, When I First Held You is beautifully illustrated by the author's daughter, Eleyor Snir, a mother of three herself who studied graphic design at the Vital College in Israel and has illustrated five children's books. At the end of the book, there is a page to put the child's photo and record the day the child was born. Whether they live in Israel or the United States, whether they are Jewish or not, all mothers, fathers, and their young children everywhere will enjoy remembering the emotions of the day of the child's birth.

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