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Going Beyond The Book - Reviews of Jewish children's books
Using Literature to Build Jewish Values in Your Children

The Jewish children's book 'Is It Shabbos Yet?'
Let's go "Beyond the Book" with
Is It Shabbos Yet?

Ages 0-3

Is It Shabbos Yet? is a book that can be used by parents and teachers to effectively transition the toddler from simple board books to a narrative story. What makes this story so successful is that the charming pictures follow every sentence of the action. What makes the child want to hear it again and again is the predictability of the question and the answer:

"Is it Shabbos yet?" asked Malkie.
"No, Malkie", said her mommy. "First we have to clean the house."

By the clever use of the same cadence of question and answer the child is taken through all the orderly progression of what familiar activities lead to Shabbos - cleaning, shopping, cooking, setting the table, bathing, dressing, and giving tzedakah. Finally the child 's expectation is heightened and the climax is anticipated:

"Is it Shabbos yet?" asked Malkie
"No, Malkie", said her mommy. "Now we have to light the Shabbos candles."

Malkie helped her mommy light the candles and say the brachah. And then wonder of wonders:

"Is it Shabbos yet?" asked Malkie
"Yes, Malkie, said her mommy. "Now it's Shabbos."

Let us go beyond the book with Is It Shabbos Yet. What makes this story so necessary for the youngest of children is it provides a sense of security for them, the security in knowing that there is an order to life and every week that order will be repeated. Also the child can feel somewhat powerful, for in this weekly experience, he or she there is a shared oneness with adults. Shabbos comes for both at the same time - so that, in this one instance, a child's life is not bound by lack of maturity, intellect and experience, but rather parent and child are equal.

Going Beyond The Book also confirms that all the "no" and "no" and "no" will finally be over, if one does takes part in positive action, so that the expectation of the great "yes" will come. And the adult, the main authority figure in the child's life, is saying "yes" - probably the most beautiful word , to a child's ears.

To Go Beyond The Book is to discover the great lesson that Shabbos comes not because of my parent's choice. Shabbos comes because Hashem said no to a mummy and tatty and then it was yes.

The book ends with the words:

"I love Shabbos," said Malkie. "I do too," said her mommy.

Through the exposure of Is It Shabbos Yet? we learn to love the "nos" in our lives and be grateful to those who say them.

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