It's a Mitzvah, Grover!

  • Interest Level: Preschool - Grade 1
  • Reading Level: Preschool

Grover does a mitzvah (good deed) by joining his friends to spruce up the neighborhood playground. Even Moishe Oofnik comes out of his trash can to help, eating up all the trash, and separating the cans for recycling.

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Interest Level Preschool - Grade 1
Reading Level Preschool
Genre Picture Books
Copyright 2013
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Brand Shalom Sesame ®
Imprint Kar-Ben Publishing ®
Language English
Number of Pages 24
Publication Date 2013-01-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV039220, JUV033020, JUV063000
Dewey [E]
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 9.5 x 9.75
Features Original artwork and Reviewed

Author: Tilda Balsley

Tilda Balsley has written many books for Kar-Ben, bringing her stories to life with rhyme, rhythm, and humor. Tilda lives with her husband and their rescue Shih Tzu in Reidsville, North Carolina.

Author: Ellen Fischer

Ellen Fischer was born in St. Louis. Following graduation from Washington University, she taught children with special needs and then ESL at a Jewish Day School. She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband. They have three children.

Illustrator: Tom Leigh

Tom Leigh is a children’s book author and longtime illustrator of Sesame Street books. He lives on Little Deer Isle off the coast of Maine.


School Library Journal

“Both books are brightly illustrated and explain Jewish concepts clearly, simply, and without condescension. Solid purchases for Jewish preschool programs and other preschools wishing to introduce Jewish holidays and practice.” —School Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews

“Can a book do its job too well?

The story is basic enough: Grover and his Israeli friends want to clean up a playground. Moishe Oofnik refuses to help them, because he’s a grouch. (He lives in a trash can like Oscar, his American cousin on Sesame Street.) But Moishe is more than willing to accept the discarded trash from the play area. He even weeds out the items that aren’t garbage. ‘Recycling is a mitzvah!’ Grover says, to Moishe’s chagrin. ‘Moishe, you are doing a mitzvah.’ Oddly, though, the simple plot is interrupted, halfway through the book, for a lesson in color theory. As the Muppets paint the swing and slide, they talk about the colors they’ve chosen. Mahboub has picked yellow, ‘like sunflowers, loquats, lemons, and grapefruit.’ Mahboub goes on to explain that yellow and blue make green. The characters even teach some Hebrew words. Doing a mitzvah is helpfully—if not quite correctly—translated as doing ‘something nice for others.’ It’s hard to fault a book for teaching too many valuable lessons. But after four straight pages, the lecture on colors turns into a distraction. Still, talking about colors is perfectly in character for Muppets. (Grover’s friends come from Shalom Sesame, set in Israel.) And when readers take a look at the seesaw, painted in rainbow colors, they may forgive everything.

Mitzvahs galore for Muppet lovers.” —Kirkus Reviews

AJL Newsletter

“With broom in hand, Grover joins his Rechov Sumsum friends Brosh, Avigail, and Mahboub in doing a mitzvah by cleaning up storm debris cluttering their playground. Working together, the amiable group picks up all the trash. Before applying a fresh coat of paint to the swings, slide, and teeter-totter, each Muppet takes turns reciting items they like which are red, yellow, blue, purple, green, or orange. In no time, the clean-up crew makes the playground a better place. When they take the trash to Moishe for disposal, even the grouchy oofnik performs a mitzvah by saving the rotten food and by putting the aluminum cans and glass bottles in the recycling bin. This book is the perfect teaching tool for introducing a young audience to the concepts of tikkun olam, doing a mitzvah, learning colors, and recycling. Leigh, a long-time illustrator of Sesame Street and Muppet books, brings these familiar characters to life. Tilda Balsley is the author of Maccabee!: The Story of Hanukkah (2010), The Queen Who Saved Her People (2011), and Oh No, Jonah! (2012). This is part of a new series of Shalom Sesame books published by Kar-Ben that includes Count’s Hanukkah Countdown and Grover and Big Bird’s Passover Celebration.”—AJL Newsletter