New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story

April Halprin Wayland, Author , illus. by Stéphane Jorisch. Dial $16.99 (28p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3279-7

As part of their Jewish New Year observance, Izzy's congregation, like many others, holds a Tashlich ceremony, in which sins are symbolically cast away by throwing pieces of bread into a body of water. But first, Izzy must make an “I'm sorry” list and seek forgiveness from those he's wronged. It isn't an easy or comfortable process: the list is longer than he anticipated, involves some property damage and requires him to apologize to his best friend for blabbing about a thumb-sucking habit. But because Tashlich is a collective expression of remorse (Mom asks forgiveness for “always being on the phone”) and one that celebrates possibility rather than blame (“a new year, a clean heart,” says the rabbi), Izzy leaves the pier feeling buoyed in both his faith and his sense of self. Wayland (Girl Coming in for a Landing ) and Jorisch (Granddad's Fishing Buddy ) are perfectly paired: the empathetic, low-key prose makes important points about personal responsibility without pummeling readers, while the stylish, keenly observed watercolors convey both Izzy's sheepish chagrin and the joys of communal tradition. Ages 5–8. (June)

Reviewed on: 06/08/2009
Release date: 06/01/2009
Genre: Children's
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