Ella’s Trip to Israel

Vivian New­man; Ake­mi Gutier­rez, illus.
  • Review
By – August 30, 2011
Ella, along with her par­ents and her stuffed ani­mal Koofi the Kof (mon­key) fly to Israel. On the plane Ella spills man­go juice on Koofi. As the smil­ing stew­ardess wipes the juice off Koofi she says, Eyn ba’aya. No prob­lem,” which becomes a refrain through­out this delight­ful book. Ella and her fam­i­ly vis­it the Kotel where a boy acci­dent­ly rips Koofi’s tail to which Ella’s moth­er says, Eyn ba’aya,” as she sews the tail back on Koofi. When the fam­i­ly vis­its an out­door mar­ket in Tel Aviv, Ella drips tahi­ni on Koofi to which her moth­er exclaims, Eyn ba’aya,” as she cleans Koofi’s fur. At the Dead Sea, Koofi, along with the oth­er tourists, gets cov­ered in mud and in the Gallil, Ella squirts Koofi with milk as she milks a cow. After each inci­dent the phrase Eyn ba’aya” is repeat­ed. When the fam­i­ly returns home and looks at their pic­ture album they real­ize that Koofi’s stained fur is a reminder of the places they vis­it­ed in Israel. Ake­mi Gutierrez’s pas­tel water­col­or draw­ings of hap­py peo­ple com­pli­ment the text. There is one small inac­cu­ra­cy in the draw­ings. Ella’s moth­er wears a green sleeve­less blouse and yel­low skirt through­out the book. She would not have been per­mit­ted to approach the kotel with­out cov­er­ing her arms. This one inac­cu­ra­cy does not detract from the enjoy­ment of the book. It is also curi­ous that there is nev­er a depic­tion of an Israeli flag at any point. Ella’s Trip to Israel is a sim­ple trav­el­ogue of Israel for the very youngest read­ers. For ages 3 – 5.
Ilka Gor­don has a Mas­ters in Edu­ca­tion from Boston Uni­ver­si­ty and an M.L.I.S. from Kent State Uni­ver­si­ty. She is a librar­i­an at Sie­gal Col­lege of Juda­ic Stud­ies in Cleveland.

Discussion Questions