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The Shabbat Puppy (Shofar)


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K-Gr 2-Noah and Grampa take a walk every Saturday morning, seeking "Shabbat shalom," or Sabbath peace. The boy always wants to bring his dog, but Grampa thinks that Mazel is too noisy and energetic. After a full year of refusals, he gives in; at the park, Mazel helps the pair rescue a baby bird and at last finds approval. This well-intentioned story may fall flat with young readers. Against expectations, it is the story of a "Shabbat puppy" in absentia: Mazel spends more time off screen than on. While adults will understand Grampa's desire for quiet, children are likely to think him mean for excluding the pup. He says "Shabbat shalom makes you feel good from the top of your head to the tips of your toes," which, ironically, seems like the perfect description of spending time with a beloved pet. The ending, too, falls flat. Mazel sniffs, wags, and barks, apparently to signal that he's found a baby bird on the ground. However, the text states, "Noah spies a baby bird." It is not clear that Mazel should get credit for this bit of "Shabbat shalom." The detailed, richly colored illustrations are full of energy and interesting perspectives. Despite the combination of popular elements (puppies, grandparents, the outdoors), the story never quite gels. The message about the beauty of Shabbat peace gets somewhat lost under the tension between the grandfather's and his grandson's definitions of happiness.-Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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