Caryn Yacowitz, Author
Kevin Hawkes, Illustrator
Candlewick Press, Fiction, Oct. 11, 2022
Suitable for ages: 4-8
Themes: Animals, Jewish, Culture, Sabbath. Fable
Opening: “Long ago, on a farm near Jerusalem, there lived a beautiful young ox named Shoshi.”
Long ago, in the hills near Jerusalem, lived a young ox. For six days each week, she and her owner would toil in the fields, and on the seventh day both would rest.
Then it came to be that this young ox was sold. For six days, she toiled in her new owner’s fields, and on the seventh day the farmer brought out the yoke and plow, expecting to spend another day hard at work. But Shoshi the ox had a different idea.
In a warm, friendly narrative and vivid, humorous art, author Caryn Yacowitz and illustrator Kevin Hawkes bring to life a tale drawn from the ancient Jewish stories known as the Midrash, a story as relevant today as it was long ago. It’s a tale of encountering other cultures and learning from them, of paying attention to the world around you—sun, breeze, animals, people—and above all, of learning to slow down and take a break.
Why I like Shoshi’s Shabbat:
Shoshi’s Shabbat is a gentle, yet powerful fable about a very clever and spunky ox who is wiser than its new owner, Yohanan. Readers will love this smart ox and his stubborn determination to do her best work for Yohanan six days a week and rest on the seventh day. Yohanan is puzzled. He’s just moved to the hills near Jerusalem and purchased Shoshi from a Jewish neighbor. Simon.
Kevin Hawkes delightful illustrations are expressive and lively, and filled with warmth and humor. His art brings to life a tale drawn from the ancient Jewish stories known as the midrash, which is relevant in today’s world. Everyone needs a day off to recoup, give thanks and spend time with friends and family. The narrative is simple and lyrical. This book is a joy to read!
Make sure you read the Author’s Note at the end because it explains more about the midrash and a Rabbi Yohanan ben Torta who became a Jew and studied the Torah and possibly became a rabbi after purchasing a cow.
Resources: Draw pictures of what you like to do on your day off. Do your animals take a day off?
Caryn Yacowitz is a playwright, a speaker andn the author of several picture books, including Baby Moses in a Basket, illustrated by Julie Downing. She lives in California.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
*Review copy provided by Candlewick in exchange for a fair review..