Jewish Values: Bagels From Benny

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32 p.
Based on a Jewish folktale, this is a whimsical yet serious story of a little boy's attempts to connect with G-d. To thank G-d for His gift of the wheat that makes his Grandpa's delicious bagels, Benny takes bagels to the synagogue and hides them in the Holy Ark. When the bagels disappear, week after week, Benny is delighted that his gift has been accepted. Then, he is disappointed to learn that the bagels have been eaten, all along, by a hungry, tattered man. Grandpa explains that by feeding a hungry person, Benny has shown his thanks to G-d by helping to make the world a better place. Although the word "Jewish" isn't mentioned, the synagogue setting, the opening of the Ark, and the wearing of kippot impart a strong sense of Jewish identity; the story exemplifies Jewish values of gratitude, charity, and repairing the world. Petricic's illustrations are slightly surreal and colored mainly in shades of bagel brown. They extend the story by showing characters' emotions and personalities. Outstanding!
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