From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Gabriel's overzealous wand-waving gets him into trouble when he plays magician: he knocks things over and pokes his sister in the tummy. Mom helps him redefine the role of magician. "Good magicians do things that make people happy, not sad. They do mitzvot-that's a Jewish word for good deeds." Mulling it over in time out, Gabriel comes up with new magic words, "One-wish! Two-wish! Jew-wish!" and acts quickly to magically surprise his family with a clean house and yummy treat. While not all readers may agree that a magician's role is to do good deeds, in this context the "magic" angle makes it fun to do good. The simplified definition of "mitzvot" (technically, biblical commandments) is appropriate for young readers, especially the non-Orthodox Jews represented in the bright and blocky paintings. Jewish families and educators will welcome this title for its reinforcement of the mitzvah concept.-Heidi Estrin, Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FLα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In this sweetly energetic story with brightly colored pictures to match, Marshall simplifies the Jewish concept of mitzvah (“giving back” as a moral and religious obligation), making the idea more accessible to preschoolers by linking it to a child’s everyday world. When Gabriel dons his cap and swishes his magic wand, things happen. Unfortunately, what happens gets him into trouble. While trying to make milk disapear from a glass, he causes a messy spill; instead of making his sister disappear, he makes her cry. His mother intervenes, sending him away for a time-out. If he is to be a great magician, she tells him, he must “do things that make people happy.” So Gabriel cleans up the milk, picks up his toys, and sets the table. When his mother reappears, he waves his magic wand, “One-wish! Two-wish! Jew-wish!” and surprises her with all the good deeds he has done. Now he is the Mitzvah Magician! Preschool-Grade 1. --Stephanie Zvirin