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Bagels from Benny Paperback – September 1, 2005
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Based on an ancient Jewish folktale, this is a whimsical yet serious story of a child's attempt to connect with God. Benny's grandfather bakes the best bagels in town, but gives the credit to God, the source of the earth from which the wheat grows. Benny wants to say 'thank you,' and places bagels in the Holy Ark so that God can taste the results of His handiwork. Benny finally discovers that the bagels have been eaten, not by God, but by a hungry, tattered man, and is disappointed until grandfather explains that Benny has thanked God by helping others and making the world a better place. In some ways, this adaptation is more believable than the original tale in which a grown man places challahs in the Ark; after all, it is more developmentally appropriate for a child to believe that God needs to eat!
Author Aubrey Davis is a storyteller as well as a writer, and the poetic text has a "read-aloud" quality. Dusan Petricic's slightly surreal illustrations emphasize Benny's emotions. The palette leans toward a warm, bagel-y beige with splashes of brighter color. Small sepia sketches capture moments like Grandpa's eyebrows raised in surprise, or provide context by giving exterior views of the bakery or synagogue. The final illustration, which merges Benny and Grandpa with the starry sky, is a perfect metaphor for the oneness with the universe they've just achieved by thanking God.
While the word "Jewish" appears only in the end note, this is a story of strong Jewish identity and values.Read more ›
The writing is wonderful and musical. The pictures are delightful. This is one of the best all around Jewish books for children. The characters react exactly as you expect them to. The writing has real life to it. If you are looking for a story with Jewish characters that is not about a Jewish holiday, this is your book. This is the perfect book for a religious family wanting to add story books to their collection (although you might want to draw a kippah [yarmaka] on Benny) as well as a secular or non-Jewish parents and teachers wanting to add an authentically Jewish story to their collection.
I read numerous children's books and I've become very finicky when it comes to children's literature.
Benny wants to thank God for the bagels that his grandfather bakes in his shop. Benny decides giving God a taste of the bagels is the perfect way. He works hard in his grandfather's bakery and asks for bagels in exchange. Benny brings these bagels each week to the synagogue and leaves them in the Ark. When curiosity sets in Grandfather follows Benny to see where his grandson goes with all those bagels. After his initial shock Grandfather explains to Benny that God doesn't need to eat. As they hide in the shadows a man comes to retrieve the bagels. He thanks God for feeding him all these weeks and promises to help others. Benny is crushed that God didn't eat the bagels, but a poor man took them. Grandfather explains in beautifully simple terms why in fact Benny did thank God.
This story opens doors to all sorts of discussion from being thankful, other's beliefs, Grandfather's reaction to finding his grandson putting bagels "still warm, just the way You like them." into the Ark, to the love for God and family so obvious throughout this story. Lines such as "His heart skipped and his eyes danced." make this story come alive. Enjoy!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of my new favorite books - it tells such a wonderful story and it is truly moving. Full disclosure: I have cried or nearly cried each time I have read it.Published 6 months ago by SamanthaJess
A delightful story with a clear message about love and service from which any Adult or Child will benefit.Published 15 months ago by Nitesky
This is a beautiful book, one for all age children, and adults, too. It is a story about a little boy who wants to thank God by giving to Him, but finds that the way to give to... Read morePublished 18 months ago by KRLWL
I can not say how much I enjoy this book. It moves me every time I read it to my eager children. I am only sadden when I realize the author has one other book.Published 21 months ago by A. Vance
This book is fantastic! I read it to my 3-year-old last night. It is captivating and with a wonderful lesson. I have to admit, I had a very time not crying. Read morePublished 23 months ago by flutacious7
Purchased this book for my 5 year old...he loved it! As the Mystery Reader, I am choosing this book to read to his kindergarten class.Published on September 24, 2013 by Colman
This has become one of our favorite books! In the story, little Benny wants to thank God for bagels but doesn't know how. Read morePublished on August 27, 2013 by ButterRum
I love the ethnic flavor of this boy seeking a way to show God's love. It is delightfully surprising and uplifting.Published on July 9, 2013 by Sharon Gregory