Review: Counting on Shabbat

Counting on Shabbat

by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Petronela Dostalova

Kar-Ben Publishing (imprint of Lerner Publishing Group), 2023

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Belinda Brock

Buy at

Shabbat is coming and everyone is getting ready to celebrate. It appears that a senior will be observing the holiday alone (albeit with his well-loved cats). But a family joins him, bringing food and smiles to everyone’s faces as they gather around the Shabbat table.

The story, told in gentle rhyme, also introduces the youngest reader to the concept of counting. In fact, counting does double duty in this delightful board book. A toddler can practice counting from one to ten, but will also learn that we count on each other for kindness.

This year has seen the release of several Jewish-themed board books and that is a good thing. In general, we need more Jewish board books, and specifically, more like this one. Somehow, the author has managed to combine the concept of counting, a positive story arc, and rhyming into an entertaining board book perfectly suited for little ones. The bright, bold illustrations will capture a toddler’s attention and the charming details add context to the simple story.

Jewish content is an integral part of this story. Counting on Shabbat serves as an engaging introduction to the beauty, meaning, and traditions of Shabbat. Although this book will be of particular interest to Jewish families, any child will benefit from learning about counting, inclusion, empathy, and a different faith tradition. Characters of various skin colors and ages are represented in this book.

Counting on Shabbat would be a welcome addition to any home, preschool, or library collection.

Are you interested in reviewing books for The Sydney Taylor Shmooze? Click here!

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.


Post a Comment