When Savta arrives for a visit from Israel, her grandson is excited about their upcoming Sunday together. Savta promises him a special gift. What could be better? Instead, they visit a museum filled with paintings of Jewish celebrations. As they walk through the art show, Savta shares stories from her childhood about smelly fish, superhero costumes, and yummy donuts. But the grandson never gets that special gift. Or does he?
Wiley Blevins is a writer living in New York City. When he lived in Tel Aviv, Israel, he spent a lot of time in Bokobza’s studio discussing his paintings. Wiley has collected several of Bokobza’s works, including a painting that once hung in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
Eliahou Eric Bokobza
Eliahou Eric Bokobza was born in Paris, France, of Tunisian parents. When he was six his family immigrated to Israel, where he now lives. Trained as a pharmacist, he pursued his passion in art and is now one of the most recognized artists in Israel. His works are part of the permanent collection in the Knesset Parliament, the Israel Museum, and other museums worldwide.
This heartwarming story introduces readers to a number of Jewish holidays and customs. The book opens with the unnamed protagonist and his family welcoming Savta, Hebrew for grandmother, to their home in New York. Jaw-droppingly detailed mixed-media illustrations show the grandson and Savta visiting various New York City landmarks before arriving at the Jewish Museum. There, they admire the artwork as Savta describes the history behind each of the paintings while also sharing family memories related to the content. In the book’s conclusion, the protagonist and his parents arrive in Israel to celebrate the boy’s bar mitzvah and honor Savta. A number of Hebrew terms remain undefined throughout the text, although certain context clues will help readers identify the meanings. Back matter includes additional information about Jewish holidays and celebrations. VERDICT Despite a few unfamiliar terms, this introduction to Jewish holy days and customs is a solid addition to most collections.