cover image Minnie's Yom Kippur Birthday

Minnie's Yom Kippur Birthday

Marilyn Singer. HarperCollins Publishers, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-025846-7

This year, Minnie's birthday falls on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Her father says it will be special, but Minnie's not so sure: How special could it be on such a serious day? Arnold, her brother, teases her by saying that she'll have to spend her birthday sitting still and thinking about the bad things she's done. ``Is that true?'' she asks her Mom. ``Well, not all day,'' says Mom, and she promises a surprise. A smooth narrative describes Minnie's first visit to the temple, where she hears the rabbi's story of Jonah, who ``did something wrong and got swallowed by a whale. When he told God he was sorry, he got spit right out.'' At first, Minnie doesn't like the story, and feels so bad she wants to cry. But as she listens to the explanation of Yom Kippur's meaning, Minnie understands. After making peace with her sister and brother for earlier mean words, she feels wonderful; afterwards, the whole congregation shares a birthday cake at the temple for her. Incorporating both quiet and lighthearted themes, Singer's book contains universal lessons. Rosner's pale, washed illustrations add just the right doses of sobriety and celebratory zeal. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)