I was not as industrious about posting in December as I had planned to be. I actually returned several holiday books without posting about them (next year!) and this review was meant for last month, too.
If you are looking for a feel-good-people-can-get-along-if-they-just-act-like-children-book Deborah de Costa's Snow in Jerusalem might just be your ticket. The newspaper of our local food coop has been filled with the incessant bickering for and against the BDS movement and I feel like sending them all a copy of this book. I don't mean to seem like I am trivializing important issues, but -- as the saying goes -- we could learn a lot from children.
A Jewish boy, Avi, and a Muslim boy, Hamudi, discover that they are each caring for the same cat. At first they fight over who is the rightful owner. However, when the cat becomes lost in a snowstorm, they overcome their differences to help the poor creature. When they find the cat (and her new kittens) the bickering starts up anew until the boys realize that the cat wants them to make peace and Avi and Hamudi determine that they will be able to share the cat and her kittens.
It's easier to have a neat and tidy in a book than in real life, but Snow in Jerusalem is not a bad book, especially considering that 5 year olds do not need to be weighted down with heavy-handed worldly problems. And, of course, I do love cats.
Conveniently, for our education about Jerusalem, the cat runs through all the city quarters: Jewish, Muslim, Christian and Armenian. What's missing in Cornelius Van Wright & Ying-Hwa Hu's illustrations is a distance shot of the city. All the views are up close. While this makes sense -- after all this is a story of how personal relationship can made a difference -- it would have been nice to place the action in a larger context.
If you're looking for books that discuss value of friendship and mutual concerns in overcoming conflict, pick up a copy of Snow in Jerusalem from your library.
Visit the author's website.
Read an interview with the illustrators.
You might also want to read: One City, Two Brothers
Big Kid says: Whose house will the cat live in?