Fast Asleep in a Little Village in Israel

Written by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod, Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
Hardcover
Ages 3-7, 32pp, 8 3/8 x 10 7/8
978-1-68115-539-5, $17.95

Kukurikuuu!
squawks the rooster.
Meowwwww!
yowls the cat.
ZZZZZZzzzzzzz
buzzes the mosquito...
It is the end of a hot, dry summer, and Mrs. Strauss just can't fall asleep.
"SHEKET! QUIET!"
But when at last she falls asleep, something wakes her up again...something her little village in Israel has been waiting
for all summer long.

 

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REVIEWS

"Readers might wonder why the title is so specific in naming the setting of the tale. But Israel's climate is really the main character, with long scorching dry spells and that first heavy rain everyone hopes and prays for, and MacLeod weaves hints about the theme in the distress of the animals and the hot, strong sunlight that shines in the window. Beeke's very bright paintings show the village in the sun's glare and the rain's softer light and Mrs. Strauss' every reaction (and her immovable blue hair, which sits atop her tan face). A lovely peek into life in Israel."
— Kirkus Reviews

"This lovely, gentle story fills a giant gap in Jewish children's literature. Books without political undertones are needed to teach children in the U.S. and around the world what Israeli life is like: its rhythms, its atmosphere; its tastes, feels, and smells. Here is a book that will entice young readers or listeners to open their minds and let Israel in, and it's all done with sweetness and a light, easy touch. This charming story, told in lyrical language and illustrated with sensuous art, just hits the spot. Mrs. Strauss can't sleep because there's too much noise in her town and too many distractions. But when she hears a different kind of sound that of the long-awaited first rainfall of the season it lulls and soothes her. The rain brings joy to all those waiting for it to nourish and rebalance the too-dry land. In Israel, rain is never taken for granted. Each drop is greeted with relief and joyful celebration. This deceptively simple tale highlights a major concern of Israeli life. The need for rain and the fear of drought are never far from mind. The accompanying illustrations are outstanding. With color and movement, they convey a dry, hazy Israeli day and then a gloriously rainy one with exactly the right flair. A note at the end of the book discusses the importance of rain, explains a bit about the climate, and offers some additional food for thought. Highly recommended for ages 3 to 8."
— Michal Malen, Jewish Book Council