Review: What's In Tuli's Box?

What's in Tuli's Box?

by Ann D. Koffsky

Apples & Honey Press (imprint of Behrman House), 2022

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Belinda Brock

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In What's in Tuli's Box? the reader meets a cute, curious kitten and his wise, nurturing mama. Tuli discovers a tzedakah box and finds out that it's not a toy, but a tool to collect money and help people.

Author/illustrator Ann D. Koffsky has created a book that is perfectly suited for the youngest readers. The adorable cover will attract a child's interest and the title will pique their curiosity right along with Tuli's. Using sparse text, Koffsky has managed to tell an entertaining story while presenting a gentle introduction to the important concept of tzedakah—charitable giving. She also seamlessly integrates a lesson about opposites (light/heavy, empty/full) into the story. Some spreads are laid out vertically, requiring the book to be rotated; this may serve to keep young readers engaged. The vibrant art complements the mood and style of the text. A kid-friendly end note offers more information about tzedakah boxes and being kind.

This book meets the criteria for the Sydney Taylor Book Award. It is appropriate for its intended audience in style, format, vocabulary and illustration. Hands of diverse skin tones are seen contributing coins to the tzedakah box. This book revolves around the Jewish mitzvah of tzedakah and caring for those in need.

What's in Tuli's Box? would be a welcome addition to a home, pre-school, or library collection.

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Reviewer Belinda Brock earned a MS in Literacy and Language from University of Chicago and her background is in teaching and educational publishing. She authored GG and Mamela, the first children’s book to address hospice care. Her essays have been featured on Kveller, Jewish Women’s Archive, and HuffPost. She has a picture book biography being released in 2022.