Adorable Sammy Spider is back and this time he is learning the English alphabet by connecting each letter to a Jewish concept or holiday. Sammy watches Josh and his family observe the traditions and the special days of the Jewish year and learns his English letters through living life according to the Jewish calendar; starting with A which represents the ubiquitous Rosh Hashanah apple, continuing with B, which stands for the many blessings in Jewish life, all the way through the Z in the center of the word mitzvot, which translates to commandments.
There’s a notable focus on the importance of Israel (F is for falafel, J is for Jerusalem, N is for Negev) which reminds American kids of the centrality of Israel within Judaism.
The color illustrations are eye-catching and appealing, showing lots of bright eyes and happy smiles.
A short author’s note, which precedes the text, focuses on learning the alphabet and explains developmentally appropriate stages. It notes that each page features its theme letter in both uppercase and lowercase forms. A short afterword discusses the history of the English and Hebrew alphabets.
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.