Sylvia A. Rouss is an award-winning author and early childhood educator, and the creator of the popular Sammy Spider series, celebrating its 25th anniversary with over half a million Sammy Spider books sold. She lives in California. Katherine Janus Kahn studied Fine Arts at the Bezalel School in Jerusalem and at the University of Iowa. She has illustrated many children's books including Kar-Ben's popular Sammy Spider series. She lives in Wheaton, Maryland.
By now, young fans of the Sammy Spider series are well acquainted with the formula that makes these warm, sweetly spun tales so endearing. Whether discovering the true meaning of the Jewish holidays or, as in his latest adventure, observing the Shapiro family bake a cake to welcome their new neighbors from Israel, Sammy, the overly ambitious arachnid, never quite grasps his limitations. 'Can we bake a cake, too?' Sammy asks his mother. When the story is read aloud, children will gleefully anticipate his mother's gentle rebuke, 'Silly little Sammy. Spiders don't bake cakes. Spiders spin webs.' And spin he does. When Sammy finds the new neighbor boy in tears, he presents him with the gift of a newly created web. Later, Sammy observes the families sharing a meal and becoming fast friends. Colorfully illustrated with Kahn's familiar collages, the book presents young readers with a simply told lesson about the mitzvah of hospitality. The Hebrew words shalom (hello, good-bye, peace), haver (friend), and akavish (spider) are woven into the story. The book also includes a recipe for hummus. Recommended. --AJL Newsletter-- "Magazine"
Friendly and curious, Sammy Spider learns about the Jewish custom of welcoming new neighbors in this successful addition to the well-loved series. Josh is helping Mrs. Shapiro bake a cake for the Israeli family moving in next door and Mr. Shapiro suggests that they also take over some pita bread and hummus, in keeping with the tradition of bringing new neighbors bread and salt so they will 'enjoy many happy meals together.' Sammy is eager to welcome the neighbors too and, when a sudden breeze carries him to a tree next door, he lowers himself down to find the new boy crying. Sammy spins a web to cheer the boy up and then watches as the Shapiros arrive and the families get acquainted. What seems simple here is still a lesson worth teaching, as kindness and openness toward others is always a mitzvah, particularly for someone who is feeling lonely and out of place. Though somewhat formulaic by now, the text reads comfortably and includes a few Hebrew words such as akvish (spider), which Rouss cleverly places in a context that allows even very young children familiar with Sammy Spider to figure out on their own. As always, the colorful cut-paper illustrations on two-page spreads are cheerfully integrated into the story. Another welcome title from a team who clearly understand how to create books for very young children. Recommended for ages 2-8.--Jewish Book World-- "Magazine"
In this addition to the Sammy Spider series, bright colors and an easy-to-follow plot work together to teach children the importance of the Jewish custom of hospitality. When a new family moves to town, Josh Shapiro and his parents immediately set to work preparing homemade food for the newcomers. Sammy Spider, who watches from above, learns all about the concept of making the neighbors feel welcomed and yearns to be a part of this mitzvah. Despite his mother's refrain that 'Spiders don't bake cakes. Spiders spin webs, ' Sammy takes an active role in making Moti, the boy who has just moved from Israel, smile. Collage illustrations by award-winning illustrator Kahn are colorful and strikingly simple. A glossary with a few Hebrew words and a hummus recipe round out a pleasant, simple story for young learners.--Publishers Weekly-- "Journal"