web analytics
September 2, 2015 / 18 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Officer-Buckle-062014

Officer Buckle and Gloria
Peggy Rathmann
Putnam

 

When you finish reading a book, do you think of someone you want to share it with?

I do. If I lend my copy, though, I find that it becomes a gift. The first time this happened was in 1966. The maintenance man for our apartment complex told me that he was a poet. I told him that I had just bought a wonderful book, The Modern Hebrew Poem Itself. He asked to borrow it, and I never saw him or the book again. Today on Amazon a hardcover copy costs $200.50, the paperback is $59.38, and for $2.55 I can get a used copy – maybe the maintenance man/poet’s.

I’ve decided the best way to share is to buy the book. For the past few years the book is Peggy Rathmann’s Officer Buckle and Gloria, which I now order five copies at a time. Because my husband is the senior director of religious guidance at Yeshiva University, we attend many celebrations for newborns: for a girl, a kiddush with drinks, food, and a short talk on the Sabbath; for a boy, a circumcision followed by a light meal and a talk.

When I give this book, the parents look at the gold Caldecott Medal on the front cover and smile, but look up quizzically – a book for a newborn? I tell them, “Read it now for yourselves; three years from now your little one will enjoy it.”

Kids love this book. The story of the police officer and the mischievous dog who accompanies him to schools for talks on safety is told without an extra word. The illustrations are hilarious: younger children appreciate their verve and catch the jokes in some of the details; older children laugh at Officer Buckle’s notes to himself and understand the subtext in the children’s letters to him. Four year-old twins figured out that one could play Buckle while the other could perform Gloria’s tricks as their mother read.

A mother whose three older boys got the book in honor of their new brother told me that the wonderful subversive element in the humor is what appeals to kids.

She’s right. That’s the pleasure in a better-known book, also written and illustrated by Peggy Rathmann: Good Night, Gorilla. There are eighteen “Good Night”s and one “Zzzz” in this brilliant book. Little ones discover what is happening on the colorful pages: the gorilla lifts the zookeeper’s keys; the mouse takes one of the gorilla’s bananas and joins the adventure; the animals have stuffed toys in their cages (a small King Babar for the elephant); the portraits on the wall of the zookeeper’s house show him and his wife with the animals. A three-year-old notices after a few readings that in the final panel the banana has been eaten.

My son read Good Night, Gorilla to his children when they were young, and thinks it’s a parody of Goodnight Moon. He may be right. The gorilla on the front cover of Rathmann’s book signals to the reader to keep quiet – you’re in on the joke. Clement Hurd, who illustrated Margaret Weiss Brown’s classic, showed a mouse on several pages. But that mouse darts from place to place in “the great green room,” while Rathmann’s mouse enjoys the escapade in the freedom of the zoo.

Rathmann captures the bewilderment of young people’s lives. After a few readings, the adult sees the “got it” moment when the child realizes why Officer Buckle is airborne on the first page and where he gets ideas for his safety tips. Because her books provide more pleasure with each reading, and even more when the child reads on her own, they are the gift that keeps on giving.

About the Author: Dr. Rivkah Blau is the author of “Learn Torah, Love Torah, Live Torah,” a biography of Rav Mordechai Pinchas Teitz; the Hebrew translation is entitled “V’Samachta B’Chayekha."


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Gift That Keeps On Giving”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Palestinian Authority child terrorist. "Don't shoot. I am a child."
Netanyahu May Allow Soldiers to Shoot at Terrorists
Latest Sections Stories
Lunchbox Restaurant in Tel Aviv.

Bringing your own sandwich to a restaurant would appear as the height of chutzpah, but not any more—at least not at Lunchbox…

Recipe-082815-LChaim-cookbook

Last year, OneFamily published a cookbook in Hebrew featuring the bereaved mothers’ recipes.

Astaire-082815-Books

How did an unresolved murder case turn into an accusation of ritual murder?

Excerpted from The Apple Cookbook (c) Olwen Woodier. Photography by (c) Leigh Beisch Photography with Food Stylist Robyn Valarik. Used with permission of Storey Publishing.

The flag had been taken down in the aftermath of the Charleston shooting and was now back and flying.

A light breakfast of coffee and danishes will be available during the program.

A variety of glatt kosher food will be available for purchase at Kosher Korner (near Section 1).

Jewish Press South Florida Editor Shelley Benveniste will deliver a talk.

Corey Brier, corresponding secretary of the organization, introduced the rabbi.

The magnificent 400-seat sanctuary with beautiful stained glass windows, a stunning carved glass Aron Kodesh, a ballroom, social hall, and beis medrash will accommodate the growing synagogue.

Even when our prayers are ignored and troubles confront us, Rabbi Shoff teaches that it is the same God who sent the difficulties as who answered our prayers before.

I’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions regarding bullies, friendship and learning disabilities.

His parents make it clear that they feel the right thing is for Avi to visit his grandfather, but they leave it up to him.

More Articles from Dr. Rivkah Blau
Rav Yosef Rosen, the Rogatchover Gaon

His phenomenal memory encompassed the Written Torah, the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud, and all the major commentaries.

book-diversity-divine

For each weekly reading, Rabbi Grysman begins with a synopsis of the Torah portion, followed by a focus on a major issue.

Of course it is disingenuous to tell a person from a non-rabbinic, non-rosh yeshiva home to make an effort.

When I give this book, the parents look at the gold Caldecott Medal on the front cover and smile, but look up quizzically – a book for a newborn?

Determination is now being studied by educators and psychologists who want to understand why some people born with every gift do not achieve a meaningful adulthood, while others born into a challenging existence rise above their beginnings to enjoy accomplished lives.

I had heard singing from across the street several times at the end of Shabbos but hadn’t realized the singing was a prelude to Havdalah.

“Radical,” from the Latin word for “root,” means going to the foundation. The foundation is what we have to think about when celebrating a simcha. Instead of peripheral concerns – photographing the proceedings, for example – we should attend to the meaning of the event.

You can tell Rabbi Yossy Goldman’s book From Where I Stand: Life Messages from the Weekly Torah Reading by its covers. The front cover is a photograph of a rabbi in a shul that is full of light.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/book-reviews/the-gift-that-keeps-on-giving/2014/06/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: