Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My Favorite Picture Books: Bagels from Benny

Bagels from Benny by Aubrey Davis, illustrated by Dusan Petricic

I requested this book from the library and couldn't remember why by the time it was available. Perhaps it was a providential accident because it's a wonderful book!

Benny works every day in his grandfather's bakery where the most delicious bagels are made. When people thank him for his bagels, Grandfather defers, saying God should be thanked because he has made the wheat grow from the good earth.

After thanking God in a prayer, Benny wonders why he hasn't received a response and decides more drastic action is needed. He asks his grandfather to pay him each week with a bag of bagels. Slipping quietly into the synagogue, he places the bag in the Ark. At this point, many readers and children may be shocked; after all, the Ark is sacred. But God has a plan for Benny's bagels and a lesson for all of us at the end of the book about thankfulness, gratitude, the loving care of God and using His gifts to bless others.

Bagels for Benny is based on a Jewish folktale. Though it's in English, I like how the text is aligned right as Hebrew would be. The illustrations are warm and Benny's expressions, especially on the double-page spread showing weeks of delivering bagels to God, are enchanting.

Find a copy and read it with your little ones!

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