A Jewish family sits down to eat. ―Bread and butter on my plates./ I‘m so hungry, I can‘t wait.// But Before I take a bite,/ I say some words / that feel just right.‖ The unidentified narrator (a yarmulke-topped little boy or a curly-headed little girl, both early-elementary age in Iwai‘s illustrations) briefly describes the hamotzi blessing, thanks God for ―[g]ood food, a home, a family.‖ The full blessing appears on the last page in both transliterated Hebrew and a loosely translated English. This well-meaning book falls short. The two kids are too old for babies—presumably this format‘s target audience—to identify with. Children in observant families with have heard hamotzi from their earliest days; an explanation is better suited to preschool children, who are full of whys, than babies and toddlers, but this vehicle is too young for them.
Illustrator: Melissa Iwai
Melissa Iwai received her BFA in Illustration from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. She now lives in Brooklyn and has illustrated many award-winning picture books, including Orbis Pictus Honor Book Thirty Minutes Over Oregon.
Author: Jacqueline Jules
Jacqueline Jules is an award-winning author and poet. Her many children's books include The Hardest Word (National Jewish Book Award finalist), Happy Hanukkah Lights, and Picnic at Camp Shalom. She lives in northern Virginia.