Review: 100 Rooms

100 Rooms

by Haya Shenhav, illustrated by Yirmi Pinkus

Kalaniot Books, 2024

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Suzanne Grossman

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The prolific Israeli author Haya Shenhav, recipient of the highest honors of juvenile literature in Israel, joins the esteemed Israeli illustrator Yirmi Pinkus to bring us this funny and engaging tale of a man who desires an ever-expanding house. When it is finally completed there are 100 rooms, each designated for a different item. There’s a room for forks, a room for chairs, a separate room for every item he owns, leaving enough for one extra empty room. But he is alone and lonely. Taking one of each item, he furnishes the remaining room. He lives in this room and sells the rest, including their contents, at very low prices. Having simplified his possessions he ventures outside to greet his neighbors who are happy to meet him. The cartoon style digital art with bright vibrant colors enhances the absurd humor.

There is minimal Jewish representation in this book, however it is built around the Pirkei Avot teaching, “The more possessions, the more worry,” chapter 2, Mishna B. This is a universally important ethic that germinated in Jewish tradition. The afterword reminds all readers that possessions may be damaged, stolen, or lost, causing unhappiness. But our most important possessions are not tangible, including our connections with other people. This book is a gentle reminder that being the first to say hello opens the door to friendship.

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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!