Details: Product Description
In this version of paying it forward, one good deed leads to another as people in a multicultural neighborhood, including a Jewish family, change the life of the community.
"The neighbors on Lancaster Street aren't particularly helpful or friendly, until Jake decides to share his mulberries with Mrs. Thompson. This small act of kindness generates a chain reaction of similar good deeds: Mrs. Thompson shares a mulberry pie with Mr. Riley, who rescues a ball for the kids next door, who rake leaves for the disabled Mr. Lee, who repairs the Cohens' computer, who donate a bike for Ashley. The result is a smiling, friendly community. The author lets her characters make her point (the world is a much better place when people are kind), only introducing the Jewish term for this behavior - mitzvot - at the end of the story. Melmon's upbeat illustrations are similarly nondenominational and will help listeners visualize the story's key elements. Religious schools may want to pair this with Sylvia A. Rouss' Sammy Spider's First Mitzvah (2014); public libraries and secular schools will find it equally useful for programs focusing on character education." -- Booklist Online,
"One good deed deserves another and another and another as a neighborhood comes together in a string of thoughtfulness that begins when Jake shares mulberries with his neighbor. She in turn shares a pie, which leads to raked lawns, fixed computers, and more and more acts of kindness that brighten the street and bring people together. The concept and importance of the mitzvah is shown, not told, in this well-written and nicely illustrated book. Neighbors pay it forward, one to the next, with a thought and an action. Because the term mitzvah is used only at the very end, this story could be used by religious educators of other faiths to demonstrate the power of kindness. VERDICT A recommended purchase for Judaic collections and others." -- School Library Journal,
"When Jake spontaneously decides to give some handpicked mulberries to the old woman next door, he begins a chain of 'pay-it-forward' events in his neighborhood. First, readers view a double-page spread of Lancaster Street, seen from the vantage point of a mulberry-tree branch, with neat lawns and well-kept pets but no humans. 'Even on sunny days, Lancaster Street seemed dark and gloomy. Neighbors did not smile at each other...or talk to each other...or help each other.' Bright flowers and nesting birds belie the supposed gloom, but the streets are certainly empty of people. The next page shows Jake in the tree. His mulberry mitzvah - declared so and defined as a good deed at book's end - inspires Mrs. Thompson to bake a pie for Mr. Riley, and Mr. Riley to retrieve two boys' roof-bound ball, and so on. The simple art is colorful but not memorable. Attempted multiculturalism feels strained: the one child of color wears basketball garb, and the probably-Asian-American Mr. Lee is a computer expert. This is a good read-aloud for young children, as the art is benign and the text includes a pleasing repetition of reactions from neighbors, who are always 'surprised' and 'delighted' by the kindness bestowed upon them. Another positive touch: the succinct back story about the derivation of the word 'mitzvah.' A sweet plug for random acts of kindness." -- Kirkus Reviews,
About the Author
The author of over twenty children's books, Terri Fields has won numerous awards for her writing, including recognition from the American Library Association. She and her husband live in Arizona.
Deborah Melmon has been a freelance illustrator in the San Francisco Bay area for over 30 years. Among her many picture books are Picnic at Camp Shalom, Speak Up, Tommy, One Good Deed, and Chicken Soup, Chicken, Soup. Deborah lives with a comical Airedale Terrier named Mack.