I Say Shehechiyanu

illus. by Monika Filipina. 24p. (Kar-Ben Favorites). ebook available. Kar-Ben. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781467734677; pap. $6.95. ISBN 9781467734691.
PreS-Gr 2—As explained in an opening author's note, "Shehechiyanu" is a Jewish blessing for first occurrences, thanking God who has "enabled us to reach this occasion." Readers follow a little girl through the seasons to see the many events that cause her to use the blessing, beginning in autumn with the Jewish New Year. Readers see a nice mix of "firsts" from religious holidays (trying on a new Purim costume) to the natural world (first snow of the winter) to the growth of a baby brother (first tooth), and even to the protagonist's maturation, as when she hears thunder and realizes it no longer frightens her. The examples are relatable and show an appreciation for the small miracles of everyday life. The gentle illustrations are warm and cheerful. Dress style shows that the family is Jewish but not Orthodox, and the males cover their heads only during religious observances. The book is aimed at a Jewish readership, as customs and holidays are presented without explanation.
VERDICT This unique story covers a topic unavailable elsewhere, and should be a first purchase for Judaic collections; general collections may consider it additional.

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