JUVENILE FICTION / Holidays & Celebrations / Other, Religious JUVENILE FICTION / Religious / Jewish JUVENILE FICTION / Religious / Jewish
Sydney Taylor Book Award — 2008 — Runner-up
A Rosh Hashanah story based on the first historic train ride from Jaffa to Jerusalem in 1892, shortening the journey between the two cities from 3 days to 3 hours. Engineer Ari's train is coming to Jerusalem collecting goodies along the way to celebrate the Jewish new year, and he learns an important lesson along the way.
There are a number of books about the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, but very few are set in Israel. This story is based on the trip of the first train from Jerusalem to Jaffa in 1897, shortening the time between the coast and the city from three days to three hours. Cohen turns this journey into a fanciful account of Engineer Ari, who is proud to have been chosen to drive the train; but his bragging annoys his coworkers. Ari heads past orange groves and palm trees, through wheat fields and around olive trees. Everywhere, he is greeted by happy citizenry who offer nature‘s bounty to him so he can bring it to the holy city. Despite his joy, Ari misses his friends, and by the time he arrives in Jerusalem, he realizes how he‘s hurt them. Since Rosh Hashanah is the time for apologies, Ari eagerly returns to make peace. The text is short, and the art is simple, but it gives a sense of agrarian life in those days of settlement. An author‘s note adds details.—Journal
Deborah Bodin Cohen was ordained at Hebrew Union College - Jewish institute of Religion. She is the author of many children's books including the Engineer Ari series, The Seventh Day, Papa Jethro, and Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim. Her books have received numerous honors, including a National Jewish Book award, Sydney Taylor honor designations and the Sugarman prize. She lives in Rockville, MD, with her husband David and three children.
Shahar Kober is an Israeli illustrator of over 30 children’s books and provides whimsical, bright-colored illustrations for this book.