By: Sylvia A. Rouss
Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
Publication Date: August 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: October 2012
Sammy Spider watched as Josh Shapiro helped his mother mix up a batter. Sammy peered at the sugar, flour, and milk on the shelf behind Josh and asked his own mother what they were doing. It was going to be a special cake for their new neighbors and he listened carefully as Mrs. Shapiro talked to Josh. "When the cake is done we'll take it over to welcome out new neighbors who have just moved here from Israel". Of course Sammy wanted to bake a cake, but little spiders don't bake, they spin webs. He continued to listen from his web by the window and learned even more interesting things when Mr. Shapiro came in to talk to Josh.
It was customary that families should bring a loaf of bread and salt to those who moved. Mr. Shapiro told Josh that it meant that it would be their "wish that they enjoy many happy meals together." There were so many things that Sammy had to learn and he wondered why Josh suggested they also take along pita and hummus. "Pita is Israeli bread and hummus is a salty dip." Soon the moving van arrived and Sammy watched from the window as the movers began carrying furniture into the house. A quick breeze suddenly "snapped a strand of webbing" and off Sammy went, gently floating to the new neighbor's tree. A little boy was crying, but the tears stopped and he exclaimed, "Shalom, akavish." What did that mean? Would he be able to help this sad little boy?
This is a charming tale of how Josh and Sammy Spider welcome their new neighbors with a Jewish mitzvah. Many young children have begun their religious education with Sammy Spider as he explains things such as Haggadah, Hanukkah, Sukkot, Passover, Shabbat, and other Judaic customs and holidays. True to form, Sammy Spider's innocent and quite appealing demeanor make it easy and fun for children to learn. The collage artwork sparkles with vibrant color, animating the tale quite nicely. Now, to compliment the Sammy Spider books there is a Sammy Spider Plush Toy that little ones can cuddle as they listen and learn. In the back of the book there is a paragraph on the "Jewish Custom of Hospitality," a visual and written glossary of a few Hebrew words, and a recipe for hummus.
Quill says: If you want an excellent way to begin your child's religious education, Sammy Spider would love to help you!