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A Touch of Chanukah... Shabbat... Passover

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A Touch of .... Series
From Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, Inc.
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Reviewed by Anna Dogole - December 6, 2011

To date, there are three books in the A Touch of .... Series, published by Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch. The three books are A Touch of Chanukah, A Touch of Shabbat , and A Touch of Passover. These are all 'Touch and Feel' board books that teach young children about the various Jewish holidays. The books are small, measuring about 6" x 6" and feature nice thick pages, making the books a perfect size for small hands. In addition to the basic text, each book also includes a number of textured surfaces that the child can feel as you read the book to them. All three books feature lively illustrations by Boruch Becker that show a traditional Jewish family preparing for, and celebrating, the various holidays.

A Touch of Chanukah A Touch of Chanukah
By Sylvia Rouss
Illustrated by Boruch Becker
ISBN: 978-0-8266-0013-4

A Touch of Chanukah is the newest book in this series, and it introduces young children to the story and miracle of Chanukah. In this book, children can feel a shiny shield with raised Hebrew letters that spell out Maccabee, feel the side of a clay oil jug, feel the waxy candles of the menorah, touch some fried latkes, touch the sticky insides of a jelly filled donut, feel the design on a coin, and touch the wood of a dreidel, all while hearing an abbreviated overview of the Chanukah story.

A Touch of Shabbat A Touch of Shabbat
By Rivkah Krinsky
Illustrated by Boruch Becker
ISBN: 978-0-8266-0019-6

In A Touch of Shabbat we see a family as they prepare for the Holy Shabbat. As you read the story to your little ones, they can feel a piece of tablecloth fabric, the scales on a fish, and a velvet challah cover (if they lift it up, they see a picture of a challah). There is also a scratch & sniff on one page that lets the children smell the scent of the Kiddush wine, and on another page, there is a set of very bright and shiny candlesticks. This book is not only enjoyable to share with your children, but it also helps to teach them the joy that can be found in preparing for the Shabbat.

A Touch of Passover A Touch of Passover
By Ari Sollish
Illustrated by Boruch Becker
ISBN: 0-8266-0021-3

The first book in the A Touch of ... series is the A Touch of Passover volume. This book explains why we celebrate Passover and what the Seder is. In this book, children can see the shiny red wine, feel some sticky wine drops, feel the leather cover of a Haggadah, touch a bumpy piece of matzah and a leafy maror, and feel a silky afikoman bag.

All the books in this series run about twelve pages, and are written for very young children, so all the explanations and information presented in these books are very basic and designed to introduce youngsters to the holidays, rather than to teach them the customs or laws concerning them. For pre-readers, this is just the right amount of information - it is enough to engage them and to keep their interest as you read the story to them. These stories also serve as jumping-off points that you can use to explain more about these holidays to your child, when they are old enough to understand.

Kids love touch and feel books. They will love these books and will ask you to read them over and over again as they pour over the illustrations and feel all the neat textures in the books. This is a great series for any Jewish family with young children.

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