Love, family, neighborliness, and joy fill this beautiful early childhood book, told through the eyes of a little boy. When anyone on the block has anything that is no longer needed, including worn sheets, socks, and pajamas, the items are given to the boy’s mom, who keeps the hand-me-downs in her sewing room. That works perfectly until the announcement on Passover that a new baby is coming, which necessitates cleaning out this catch-all room; otherwise there will be no room for a crib! The soon-to-be brother shares his concern for creating the needed space. The extra materials are perfect to make all kinds of things for the expected baby and all the lovingly crafted goods are shared by the resourceful mother with all the neighbors who can use them. Mrs. Finkelstein’s grandchild, for example, needs diapers and the soft recycled fabrics will make some perfect ones. In the process, the family and neighbors manage to clean out one end of the room. As the year progresses, the family celebrates all the Jewish holidays together, and more and more projects near completion.
By Hanukkah, three corners of the room are empty. Some of the recyclables work to decorate the holidays, such as a flag for Simchat Torah made from old yarn and chopsticks. And some items fashion neighbor-created gifts for Baby Lily when she is born.
The illustrations are both age-appropriate and fitting for the story. The paintings are filled with color and whimsy. Endpapers feature quilt squares with Jewish symbols such as apple and honey and a menorah, and also yarn and knitting needles. Wonderful values are expressed throughout in a light-hearted fashion. Children learn about recycling and re-using everyday materials, while also seeing the beauty of sharing, neighborliness, and creating useful things on one’s own.
This is a winner. Recommended for ages 3 – 6.