The Jewish Eye
Good Night, Laila Tov
Good Night, Laila Tov
By Laurel Snyder
Illustrated by Jui Ishida
Random House, New York (2012)
Reviewed by Anna Dogole - March 27, 2012
Good Night, Laila Tov, is a comforting and charming read-out-loud children's story that follows a modern Jewish family as they take a trip to the country to plants trees. The story ends when they return home from their journey, very tired, and very happy. Along the way the family's two young children, a boy and girl, explore the natural world around them and the marvels that it has to offer, from the whispering waves at the seashore to verdant fields where they pick berries.
The lyrical narrative of the story was written by Laurel Snyder, and it is accompanied by colorful pictures by Jui Ishida that bring the beauty of nature alive. Throughout the story, the calming refrain, "Good night, laila tov" is repeated, lulling the children to sleep on a warm afternoon and even during a storm as they snuggle down in a tent. Laila tov means goodnight in Hebrew, and the refrain makes this an ideal book for bedtime reading, as it is soothing and warm, and it is a perfect way to say goodnight to any child.
Good Night, Laila Tov is an entertaining book, and a book that is a joy to share with a young child. It is also a book that teaches, albeit subtly, about tikkun olam, which is a Jewish term that means repairing or completing the world. In the story, the family is planting trees as a means of doing tikkun olam. The book also teaches children about the wonders of nature, and the fun that can be had exploring the world around you. In short, Good Night, Laila Tov is a book that is perfect for reading out loud to pre-readers, especially at bedtime, and it is also a book that they can enjoy on their own by looking at the pictures and making up their own stories.
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