By: Allison Ofanansky
Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
Publication Date: August 2014
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: April 6, 2015
The family is driving through the desert, a hilly background behind them, to join their guide Ira. It’s going to be a very special camping trip where everyone will celebrate and learn about Rosh Chodesh, “the beginning of a new month in the Jewish calendar.” A young boy and his sister peer out over a deep canyon, but Ima cautions them, “Be careful and don’t get too near the edge.” In the afternoon the boy looks through binoculars, but at night there will be a telescope for him to peer into the night sky and see the new moon. As they hike through the desert they are able to see some creatures of the desert - some ibexes.
His sisters, Tali and Aravah, admire the rocks on the desert floor. By mixing water with some of the "powdery yellow dirt," Avarah is able to make yellow paint. The sun will soon be setting and Ira sits in a folding chair and begins to set up his telescope. “The moon sets early on Rosh Chodesh,” he explains to the boy, “If we want to get a good look, we need to hurry.” The sun has begun to set and they can clearly see the moon and its craters that “pock-mark the thin white crescent.” The boy is surprised when he suddenly notices the rest of the moon. The moon is “always the same size, although sometimes it looks big and round.” On Rosh Chodesh, there is only a sliver, but how and why can that be?
This is a photographic depiction and explanation of Rosh Chodesh and the phases of the moon for young children. The young boy can easily see the new moon, but understanding the phases of it can be a bit daunting. Ira then plays a game so they can easily understand what happens during the phases. This game can be reenacted and played in a homeschool or classroom setting with a blowup globe, a model of the moon, and a lantern in a darkened room. The story is illustrated by full color photographs, which make the information about Rosh Chodesh and moon phases easier to understand. In the back of the book are instructions on how to make a paper mâché moon and additional information about Rosh Chodesh and an illustrated diagram of the phases of the moon.
Reading Grade Level: 3
Quill says: This is a marvelously fun way to learn about the minor Jewish holiday, Rosh Chodesh and the phases of the moon!