Lights Out Shabbat

Sarene Shulimson, illus. by Jeff Ebbeler. Kar-Ben, $7.95 trade paper (32p) ISBN 978-0-7613-7565-4
Shulimson’s first children’s book is a sweet story of a boy’s overnight visit to his grandparents’ house. It’s an unusual Friday in Georgia, for the lights go out and it snows. According to the rules of Shabbat, no light may be either turned on or off during the Sabbath, so Papa and Nana perform the routine Shabbat celebration, lighting candles, saying prayers, and spending family time appreciating the snow, the stars, and one another in the dark. Told from the boy’s point of view, the darkened house and the snow are both fun and mysterious, and the familiar rituals he and his grandparents perform together are comforting. Ebbeler’s (April Fool, Phyllis!) illustrations employ rich yellows, greens, and reds, and his casual-seeming strokes underscore the comfortable familial love the characters share. The story captures the essence of Shabbat as a day of rest, of family time, and of giving thanks. When the electricity returns, Papa says, “I guess even the lights needed a Shabbat rest.” The suggestion of suspense about the duration of the blackout and the boy’s grandparents calm acceptance of it reminds readers of the mystery of God. Ages 2–8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2012
Release date: 01/01/2012
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 32 pages - 978-0-7613-7564-7
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