What a Way to Start a New Year!: A Rosh Hashanah Story

illus. by Judy Stead. 24p. Kar-Ben. Aug. 2013. lib. ed. $16.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-8116-7; pap. $7.95. ISBN 978-0-7613-8117-4; ebook $6.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-1640-6. LC 2012027927.
PreS-Gr 2—The New Year is a busy time for Jewish families, but things are especially chaotic for Harry and Dina this year. They have moved to a new community, and a series of minor mishaps (lost keys, spilled juice, a flat tire) leads to canceled plans and leftover pizza for dinner instead of brisket and honey cake. Fortunately, their dad's new coworker, Mr. Levine, invites them to services, where the songs are familiar even if the faces are not. At the Levine house for the holiday meal, Harry and Dina make new friends and learn that apple cake is just as delicious as honey cake. New things are different, but not necessarily bad. The exasperated refrain, "What a way to start a new year!" turns positive as Dina exults, "What a wonderful way to start a new year!" The mixed-media illustrations depict the family with clear facial expressions that transform from frustrated, to doubtful, to cheerful as the mood of the story changes. While somewhat limited in scope, this title will be a fine addition to Judaic collections as curriculum support around the Rosh Hashanah principle of hachnasat orchim, welcoming guests and sharing a meal.—Martha Link Yesowitch, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, NC

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