Review: Hi, Hello, Welcome

Hi, Hello, Welcome

by Chris Barash, illustrated by Rosie Butcher

PJ Publishing, 2022

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Suzanne Grossman

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A child who uses a wheelchair warmly welcomes three adorable animal guests into his home, practicing the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim or welcoming guests (although this Hebrew term is included in the notes rather than the story itself). With each knock at the door, the reader opens a flap to reveal the next guest. When all are assembled, they share a yummy tea party.
The lively rhyming story and bright vibrant pictures are perfect for encouraging cozy conversation. The child in the wheelchair with the rainbow patterned sweater lends a nice touch of understated diverse representation. The notes include a link to for related activities.

This lift-the-flap board book meets all the requirements for consideration for the Sydney Taylor Book Award. The engaging artwork and bouncing text are perfect for our very youngest audience. The positive Jewish content of the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim is clear and engagingly presented. This is a book for all seasons but especially early in the year when we read the torah portion Vayera, in which Abraham welcomes guests to his tent. With appeal for a soothing bedtime read or bouncy group fun this book is a worthwhile addition to home or preschool collections. The cheery take-away message will leave everyone smiling: “Welcoming guests makes a house feel like home.”

Illustration Editor Dena Bach adds: It was nice to see the small details in the illustrations that make clear that the home where the child welcomes his guests is his home and is a Jewish home, such as the Hanukkah menorah on the shelf, and an especially nice detail, the two mezuzahs on the front door - one at the traditional height and one low enough for the child in the wheelchair to reach!

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Reviewer Suzanne Grossman is happily retired after 30 years as a children’s library media specialist. She had the opportunity to share books, tell stories, and encourage the joy of reading with thousands of children. The moment when a child enters a story, experiences life as a character does and walks through the setting the author has created is magical. She is honored to have the opportunity to be part of the Sydney Taylor Shmooze, working to bring the best of the newest Jewish children’s literature into the lives of young readers. Having the gift of time, she now enjoys writing picture books and sharing them with children. Happy reading everyone!