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Happy Roo Year

It's Rosh Hashanah

Happy Roo Year
Jessica Hickman By (author)
Elissambura Illustrated by
Board book
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Lerner Publishing Group

Limited ***

6.5 X 6.5 in
12 pg

JUVENILE FICTION / Holidays & Celebrations / Other, Religious
JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Kangaroos
JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Australia & Oceania


They think about the year gone by.

They celebrate and schmooze.

They’re really just like you and me—

except they’re KANGAROOS.

Join a kooky cartoon-y kangaroo family in the Australian outback as they celebrate Rosh Hashanah! Learn about the traditions of the Jewish New Year in this rhyming board book, as a community of rambunctious ‘roos celebrates the holiday.


“The team that brought us Alligator Seder offers another fun, rhyming board book featuring cute animals celebrating Jewish holi¬days. This time, readers travel to the Australian Outback as colorful kangaroos dip apples in honey, blow shofars, and share synagogue pews with frisky koala bears and wombats. They eat all sorts of tra¬ditional Ashkenazi foods (brisket, gefilte fish) and have a grand ‘ole time. Kids will learn the word “marsupial” along with all the holiday traditions through this upbeat tale.” — Lisa Silverman, retired Library Director, Sperber Jewish Community Library, Los Angeles; Co-Editor, Children’s and Teen Literature, AJL News and ReviewsMagazine

"PreS—This brief Jewish New Year board book starring kangaroos breaks no new ground but may please preschoolers. Rhyming fourline stanzas cover the basics of a kangaroo family's celebration of Rosh Hashanah as they attend synagogue, hear the blast of the shofar (ram's horn), eat round challah, and enjoy a family meal. Traditional apples and honey are depicted in the illustrations but never mentioned in the text. The narrative is brief, the rhymes work adequately, and the text scans reasonably well. There is not much story beyond the Roo family going through the traditions, but it is an accessible read-aloud. The bright illustrations have a collage look, with a slightly expressionist Chagall-esuque feel. A mix of single- and double-page full-bleed spreads convey the story, and a white background allows the vivid hues to pop. The Rabbi Roo wears a prayer shawl while blowing the shofar, and some of the (presumably male) Roos wear yarmulkes. While the choice to make the characters kangaroos feels a bit random, the idea of setting the tale in the outback does give the holiday a sense of universality. On the whole, this effectively conveys the holiday, though enjoyment will depend on at least minimal familiarity with Rosh Hashanah.

VERDICT Jewish libraries and preschools may want to add this pleasant read-aloud. An addltlonäl purchase for public libraries with large Jewish populations." — Amy Tilien-Harper, Wilton Lib., CT, School Library JournalJournal

Author Bio

Jessica Hickman is a South Florida native, proud mama, and children's book author. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her family, where she enjoys live music, farmer's markets, and exploring the outdoors. Alligator Seder is her debut children's book.
Elissambura is an illustrator of many children's books. She works in a variety of techniques, including digital and mixed media. Her favorite subject is animals. She lives in Argentina.