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Snow in Jerusalem

Snow in Jerusalem

3.0 1
by Deborah Da Costa, Ying-Hwa Hu (Illustrator), Cornelius Van Wright (Illustrator)
Avi and Hamudi are two boys who live in Jerusalem's Old City--Avi in the Jewish Quarter and Hamudi in the Muslim Quarter. To each boy, the other's neighborhood is an alien land. Both are caring for the same beautiful white stray cat.


Avi and Hamudi are two boys who live in Jerusalem's Old City--Avi in the Jewish Quarter and Hamudi in the Muslim Quarter. To each boy, the other's neighborhood is an alien land. Both are caring for the same beautiful white stray cat.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her affecting but message-driven debut children's book, da Costa relays the story of two boys who live in Jerusalem's Old City Avi in the Jewish Quarter and Hamudi in the Muslim Quarter. A fluffy white cat wanders between the homes of the two boys, relishing the scraps each feeds her. Then weeks pass without any sign of the cat, alarming each boy. Looking skinny and dirty, the cat at last visits Avi, who then follows her to Hamudi's neighborhood, where the youngsters begin to argue, each claiming the cat is his. As a rare snowfall begins, the boys stop bickering and, fearing that the beloved animal will freeze, follow her through Jerusalem to a dark alley where they discover four kittens in a box. As the mother purrs loudly and rubs against the boys, they conclude, "She does not want us to fight.... She wants peace." The watercolor art by this husband-and-wife team (Mei-Mei Loves the Morning) balances precise, close-up portraits of the boys with softly focused backgrounds that depict the various cultural nuances of the setting. A glossary defines the Hebrew and Arabic words integrated into the text. Ages 6-10. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Peace in the world—who has not yearned for that? Peace in Jerusalem—can it really happen? Avi and Hamudi, who live in separate worlds in their Jewish and Muslim quarters of the Old City, seem to witness that miracles can still occur. The medium is a blue-eyed white cat whom they both are feeding, each unaware of the other's existence and role until kittens and a most unusual snowfall bring them all together. Naming and sharing the cat seems more reasonable than accusations and fighting over her, and so a friendship is born, hope flames in Jerusalem. This is a most believable story enfolded by wondrously warm and detailed watercolors, an armchair trip into that exotic, fabled and troubled city. Don't miss exploring it with Hamudi, Avi and the white cat. 2001, Whitman, $15.95. Ages 5 to 10. Reviewer: Judy Chernak
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-As the problems in the Middle East continue to rage, this didactic story of finding common ground and a way to make peace seems both simplistic and apropos. Both Avi, who lives in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, and Hamudi, from the Muslim Quarter, love the white stray cat they feed. After she disappears and reappears, Avi follows the feline and discovers Hamudi feeding her. As they argue about ownership, snow begins to fall, and she runs away. Predictably, when they find her, she has four new kittens, which they argue over and finally agree to share, each taking two of them home. The narrative flows smoothly, and da Costa's language makes the story seem more a legend or folktale than a modern tale. The watercolor-and-pencil illustrations are done in a realistic style that suits the narrative, but the boys look alike except for their different jackets and the fact that Avi wears a yarmulke. The endpapers, which depict the old city with the Wailing Wall and the Dome of the Rock practically touching, are quite effective. School libraries may want to consider this serviceable title for opening discussions about the Middle East.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In an innocuous, basically uninteresting story, two boys who are citizens of Jerusalem, an Israeli-Arab and an Israeli-Jew, discover that they've been caring for the same cat in their respective neighborhoods. As they quarrel over ownership, suddenly snow begins to fall. Realizing that they must both take care of the cat, they follow her through the streets until they discover that she has delivered four kittens, a miracle like the snow, they decide. Once again they begin to fight over who will take them home until the cat demonstrates that she loves them both. So, they divide the kittens and let the mother continue to travel between them. A map of the city on the title page will help readers understand the sections of the Old City and show what boundaries the boys crossed in the cat chase. Full-bleed watercolor illustrations really convey the mood and places of the ancient city, as well as the human beings-and cats. Jerusalem in not as clean as shown in the art, nor is the over-abundance of felines shown. But in a high-minded and good-hearted story, even these literal facts may be overlooked. Development, human and feline, is nicely characterized. (author's note, glossary) (Picture book. 6-9)

Product Details

Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date:
Albert Whitman Prairie Paperback Ser.
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.10(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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