Baby's Blessings

Baby's Blessings

By:  Hiroe Nakata
Lesléa Newman

$7.99 Board book
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Lerner Publishing Group

Limited ***

6.5 X 6.5 in
12 pg

JUVENILE FICTION / Religious / Jewish
JUVENILE FICTION / Family / General (see also headings under Social Themes)

"A Jewish family celebrates a baby with traditional symbols and rituals. The whole family—even the cat—dotes on baby in this board book. Newman's rhyming text includes Yiddish and Hebrew vocabulary and Jewish traditions: There's kugel and challah, a mezuzah and a tzedakah box, and of course, many blessings and much joy. Newman doesn't spend time defining the various terms for non-Jewish readers, allowing Nakata's softly textured illustrations to provide some context clues. While the text is certainly very sweet and scans well, the beautiful images are the star. There are wonderful details: wallpaper adorned with chicks, Zayde's tortoiseshell glasses, and, delightfully, the cat behaving typically by stuffing itself inside a paper bag. These details bring this family to life. The only point of confusion in the book is that at first, it seems as though the family (all white-presenting) is readying the house for a brand-new baby—Bubbe is knitting booties and baking on the first page, for example—but this is no newborn. The baby is shown forward-facing in a baby carrier, sitting up on a lap at the table, and climbing playfully on Zayde. Overall, this book would make a wonderful gift for a Jewish family welcoming a new addition, as it certainly conveys the excitement and joy of having a little one in the house. A sweet celebration of a baby, full of Jewish tradition." —Kirkus ReviewsJournal

In this charming board book, a Jewish family celebrates the arrival of a baby!

Blessings in our house abound,
Newest is the wondrous sound,
Of baby whom we hold so dear,
Crying out with joy, "I'm here!"

Hiroe Nakata grew up in Japan, encouraged in her drawing by her grandfather, a painter. One of her favorite things to do was to sit and play in the big rocking chair in his studio. She also loved music and at a very early age began composing songs for her own amusement. As she paints she often recalls the songs she wrote as a child and is reminded of her hands moving on the keyboard as her brush moves across the paper. When she was sixteen, Hiroe moved to the United States. She is a graduate of the Parsons School of Design and a resident of New York City.

Lesléa Newman is the author of more than sixty books for readers of all ages. Her awards include an American Library Association Honor and a Sydney Taylor Honor. She lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts.