Which child has never fantasized a utopian Candyland where he
could eat whatever he chose and as much of it as his stomach
could hold? What child has not gone through a selfish stage
of possessiveness? Or wanted to revert to babyhood to gain
the attention that Baby Brother seems to get so effortlessly?
Growing up, honesty, responsibility, basic character traits
and many very commonplace conflicts in childhood, are probed
by a very skillful pen in very de luxe editions.
Menucha Beckerman has been a household word for every tot
from two to eight for close to two decades. Israeli children
small and medium-sized have treasured her beautiful books --
small, medium-sized and large -- and read them over and over
until they knew them by heart. Her books come in rhyme and in
prose and their messages are well absorbed since they deal
with everyday situations, with problems that children
actually face. The graphics are superb, the children
adorable, pinchable and lifelike, that is, very easy to
identify with. And of the several dozens of books already
published, many have already appeared in English.
Which brings us to "My Middos World," a new series appearing
now in English. When it was first published in Hebrew seven
years ago, it immediately sold tens of thousands of
Besides being magnificent in every aspect -- impressive
pictures, special laminated paper, a large size format -- the
contents of the books are very special as well. The stories
are written in a simple manner yet they convey a deep Jewish
message of knowing, appreciating mitzvos and
performing them happily. Six of the popular fifteen Hebrew
books have now been translated so as to appear on the market
simultaneously, in a gift-boxed edition.
A brief focus on Book Five: Dina-dee Loves Shabbos. This
theme has been dealt with in countless children's books, but
this one is really special. One might think that a
translation would reflect Israeli-style living, but
interestingly, this is not so. The floors are not stone-
tiled, and "Mommy vacuums the floors." No sponja... (There's
even a Raggedy-Ann doll on Dina-dee's bed.) Grandma's home is
Israeli, though, and old fashioned, crocheted doilies etc. --
a bit of both worlds and the incidental lesson that on
Shabbos, all tables must be covered!
The book proceeds with lifelike illustrations that speak to
children, and with a pleasant repetition of familiar
traditions, messages, simple halachos such as
muktza and concepts such as toys especially set aside
Three of the books in this series center around a boy hero,
Michael, and three around Dina-dee. Another series in English
also geared to the pre-school level is "My Little World" with
eight titles including, "Gitty's Dream Comes True," "Surprise
for Mommy!," "Welcome Home," "The Real Hero," "That's All! I
Want to be Small!" and others.
Among the excellent titles in the thirty-book "Little
Library" in Hebrew, simple enough for most non-Israeli
parents who wish to ease their children's initiation into
Hebrew language, are the following: "Maase Letiferet B'Uga
Nehederet" about sharing and being considerate; "Lo
Rotzeh Lishon," on bedtime; "Bareket Hamefuneket,"
about a spoiled girl; "Adom, Matok -- Umesukan!" about
the dangers of a medicine cabinet; "Mi Mefached
Mehachoshech" -- Who's Afraid of the Dark, and all the
English or Hebrew, these books speak for themselves and will
provide hours and years of educational pleasure to the lucky
children who possess them.