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Judah Maccabee Goes to the Doctor Hardcover – August 1, 2017
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Judah Maccabee, the hero of Hanukkah, becomes a role model for bravery in this story about a boy who wants to be the best big brother ever. Young Judah has a baby sister, Hannah, who is a little too small to appreciate his efforts to engage with her. But when he receives a Maccabee shield for Hanukkah, he uses it to protect Hannah from getting too close to the stove and having snow fall on her head. A true challenge arises when the children go to the doctor for check-ups and Judah needs a vaccination. He is scared, but his father explains that the shot is like a shield and being vaccinated will protect not only him but also his baby sister. Unfortunately, the story ends up feeling more like a public health appeal than a holiday tale. VERDICT A visually appealing book that uses the character of Judah Maccabee to raise awareness about the importance of vaccines for children. As a holiday book, it is additional.—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library
Judah is frustrated by his baby sister Hannah. She knocks over his block tower, spits out her food, and follows him around. On the first night of Hanukkah, Bubbe gives Judah a Maccabee shield and teaches him about another Judah who lived a long time ago and protected the Jewish people. Judah carries his shield everywhere and does his best to protect his baby sister from danger. On the last day of Hanukkah, Dad takes Judah and Hannah to the doctor for their annual check-ups. At first Judah doesn't want to get a shot, but Dad and the doctor convince him: '. . . a shot is just like a shield . . . It protects us from sickness.' Dad also explains that 'Hannah is too young for a shot. But if you get the shot, you ll be protected. You won t be able to get a new sickness, and so she won't be able to catch it from you keeping you both healthy!' So, just like his namesake, Judah is the best and bravest brother ever, getting his shot on his non-shield arm (and only crying a little).
The soft-edged, bright, and cheery paintings depict a contemporary family joyously celebrating Hanukkah with candles, latkes, dreidels, and presents but also in their every-day lives. It s refreshing to see Dad taking the children to the pediatrician and the doctor portrayed as a woman of color. Additional information about the Maccabees is appended along with information on the benefits of vaccinations. While the connection to Hanukkah is slight, the story can be enjoyed year-round to help young readers gain some courage before their shots. It can also be used to discuss Pirkei Avot 4:1: 'Who is a hero, a gibor? The one who conquers his own fears.'
Recommended for ages 4 to 8. --Rachel Kamin, Jewish Book Council
Here s an unusual twofer: a Hanukkah book that advocates for vaccinations. Brisk text and schoolroom-cheery illustrations introduce a boy named Judah, who s trying his best to be a hero to his baby sister, Hannah (he tries sharing his 'Choco-monster-delight cereal,' which she joyfully returns in a projectile spit). Just when he thinks he has the big brother role cinched, thanks to a toy Maccabee shield he receives for Hanukkah, Judah discovers that it s time for his vaccinations and in the presence of a watchful Hannah, he balks. Koffsky and Shipman take a while to get to the heart of their message, but when they do, it s perfectly pitched for their audience: being vaccinated, Dad explains, is just one more way we protect the people we love. 'Being the best and the bravest wasn t only an outside, shiny-shield thing,' Judah realizes. 'It was an on-the-inside thing, too.' Ages 4 8. --Publishers Weekly
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Now with polio and other infectious diseases pretty much eradicated due to the efficacy of vaccines, how do you get that message across?
In ‘Judah Maccabee Goes to the Doctor’, Ann Koffsky has written an adorable book about an important topic. Her selection of the celebration Chanukah is not accidental, as it is the holiday of survival. There’s no greater gift one can give their children than the gift of a vaccination.
The book carries the imprimatur of Dr. Robert Koppel, MD of Northwell Hospital. As a specialist in pediatrics, he knows of the importance of vaccinations.