Review: A Feather, a Pebble, a Shell

A Feather, a Pebble, a Shell

written and illustrated by Miri Leshem-Pelly

Kar-Ben Publishing (imprint of Lerner Publishing Group), 2024

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Elizabeth Suneby

Buy at

Join an exuberant, nature-loving protagonist as she enjoys exploring the varied landscapes of Israel. Written in first person, this picture book introduces children to the natural beauty of Israel as well as to the importance of preserving nature, leaving the land as you find it. The protagonist brings that point to life for readers, writing: "Whenever I hold something small in my hand--a feather, pebble, a shell--I leave it where it belongs... for you to find."

Simple, sparse, lyrical language and colorful watercolor paintings convey the author/illustrator's love of Israel and nature. Sidebars with factual information about the indigenous items the protagonist encounters add another layer of learning. The back matter adds more factual information about the natural diversity of Israel, as well as a map that shows the locations the protagonist visits from north to south of the country along with the natural items she finds and holds in each spot. The back matter also includes photos of the author/illustrator as a child in nature.

The book communicates facts about Israel's natural environment as well as love for the land. It will appeal to all nature lovers as well as all readers who want to learn about the landscape of Israel. At a time when so many images of Israel are related to conflict, this beautiful book depicting the beautiful nature of Israel is a breath of fresh air.

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

Reviewer Elizabeth Suneby can't wait to contribute two new titles to Jewish kidlit, to be published by PJ Publishing, adding to her current Jewish-themed books in print. These include her modern take on a Yiddish folktale -- NO ROOM FOR A PUP! -- and three mitzvah-themed books -- THAT'S A MITZVAH; IT'S A... IT'S A... IT'S A MITZVAH; and the MITZVAH PROJECT BOOK.