Sammy Spider’s First Shavuot, by Sylvia A. Rouss


This is the latest in the wildly popular series about the little spider who lives with his mother in a web on the ceiling of the Shapiros’s dining room, with a perfect view of their kitchen. Sammy notices everything that goes on in the humans’ space. And it is all so different from what Sammy and his mother do. Whether it is polishing candlesticks, setting the table, or making blintzes, “Spiders,” says his mother, “don’t do that. Spiders spin webs.” Sammy and the reader are learning sequences of things—First Mrs. Shapiro measures the flour, then she adds eggs, now she is mixing in some milk.” Then comes the cooking: “the first she made thin pancakes, then she pushed a spoonful of cheese filling into the middle of each one, now she is rolling them up to make the blintzes.” Mr. Shapiro has a job too. “First he washed the berries, then the sliced them, now he is mixing them with sugar.” The learning does not stop. When Josh Shapiro comes home from school he is carrying a little Torah scroll. Mrs. Spider explains to Sammy that “Shavuot celebrates the time when God gave the Torah to Moses.” Then she continues: “first Moses taught to the Jewish people, then they taught it to their children. Now it continues. Josh is learning Torah from his parents the way they learned it from theirs…. The Torah tells the story of the Jewish people. It also has rules about how to treat others with love, kindness, and respect.” A good recipe for life, as Sammy notes. He is a clever little spider. Paperback, 32 pages, isbn 9780822572251

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