Tikkun Olam Ted, by Vivian Newman


Newman (Ella’s Trip to Israel) presents three central ideas of Judaism in this board book about a boy named Ted. Ted is called “Tikkun Olam Ted” because he “wants to help fix the world and make it a kinder, better place.” (Tikkun olam is a Hebrew phrase meaning “repairing the world.”) He goes about this goal by performing good deeds (mitzvot) six days of the week—and resting on the Sabbath. Mack illustrates scenes of Ted and his father washing bottles for recycling, and Ted and his cat feeding the birds, in a two-dimensional style that evokes the flatness of folk art, using simple geometrics in contrasting primary and secondary colors. Faces are smiling, so every scene is happy, and while images are simplified, there are details aplenty. Overall, the book makes for a pleasant, if uneventful, catalogue of good deeds. The story serves a purpose—laying out tenets of Judaism—but is didactic and unengaging. Readers may wish Ted misbehaved once, instead of being an unerring model child.  Boardbook, 10 pages, isbn 9780761390404

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