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The Moving-Box Sukkah

Sharon Vargo
A boy and his mom find a creative way to make a new apartment in a new city feel a bit more like home as they celebrate the Jewish fall holiday of Sukkot.
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Printed Material
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STARRED REVIEW! "A sweet, accessible, child-centric story." --School Library Journal

A boy and his mom find a creative way to make a new apartment in a new city feel like a bit more like home as they prepare to celebrate the fall holiday of Sukkot.

Everything is different and nothing feels like home for a boy who has moved to a new city with his mom. As they unpack together, he can’t find his special blue blanket, he misses his old yard, and he worries that they won’t be able to celebrate holidays as they once did. Calm and sensitive guidance from his mom, who describes how the Israelites had to move and adapt to new surroundings throughout the ages, also includes some hilarious ideas from the rabbis of long ago as they tried to imagine where it might be possible to build a sukkah—the temporary hut where ancient Israelites sheltered during their pilgrimages. The boy begins to see that different isn’t necessarily worse, and a new place can begin to feel more like home, especially when family is together.

STARRED REVIEW!!  "A boy and his mom have just moved from a house to a city apartment. As they unpack, the child worries about finding his blanket and how they will celebrate Sukkot without a backyard. His mother tells stories of various unusual celebrations, and, after a trip to the park, they make an indoor sukkah out of moving boxes, with the rediscovered blanket serving as their starry sky. The first-person text is short and accessible, providing a true sense of the child's concerns. The mixed media illustrations, which are a nice combination of full-bleed single pages and spreads as well as some spot art, create a visually dynamic experience. The child and his mother are the only people depicted, except in memories, keeping the focus squarely on his emotions and dilemmas. The images, reminiscent of Lisa Brown's style, have a slightly cartoony feel, yet the sukkah and the park scene have nice detail. While the lulav and etrog are never mentioned, the reasoning behind the sukkah and the requirements for building one are made clear in text and back matter. Berkowitz successfully creates a sweet, accessible, child-centric story. VERDICT This lovely marriage of a story of moving and Sukkot will be a welcome addition to the shelf in any library serving Jewish patrons or looking to expand their holiday collections." --Amy Lilien-Harper, School Library Journal