Review: Shimmy Shambone Will Not Share His Toys

Shimmy Shambone Will Not Share His Toys by Yael Zoldan, illustrated by Robert Salanitro

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Leah Cypess

Shimmy Shambone Will Not Share His Toys is the third in a series of picture books about Shimmy. This book stands alone. In it, Shimmy won't share his toys with anyone, and ends up with a heap of toys but no friends to play with. With the help of a kind adult, Shimmy comes to realize both that sharing is the right thing to do, and that it ends up being a lot more fun for him.

This is a fun, child-friendly book. Shimmy is marvelously drawn, through both text and illustrations, as a character most children will easily identify with. The easy, playful rhyme is a great counterweight to the moral of the story.

The characters in the book are clearly Orthodox, but the book is easily relatable to all children. Sharing is described as a "mitzvah," and God is referred to as "Hashem." The thrust of the message is the importance of being kind to your friends and not making them feel bad.

This books meets the criteria for consideration for a Sydney Taylor Award. Although sharing is a universal value, it is presented here through Jewish characters and ideas. The books is perfectly aimed at its intended audience and authentic in its portrayal of a young Orthodox Jewish child.

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Reviewer Leah Cypess is the author of several mainstream books, including the forthcoming middle-grade novel, THORNWOOD, coming in April 2021 from Delacorte/Random House. Leah also writes Judaica books under the pen name "Leah Sokol." Her most recent Judaica book, YOU CHOOSE: THE SPANISH PLOT, will be a PJ Our Way selection in February 2021.