In the midst of the Jewish High Holy Days, when there is celebration, atonement, prayer, introspection, repentance, and a pause for observance, it is meaningful to read Shoshi’s Shabbat, which author Caryn Yacowitz was inspired to write by an ancient Hebrew story.
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, who is a master of facial expressions and sumptuous settings, we read the story of an ox named Shoshi who plows Simon’s fields six days a week, resting with the family on the seventh day.
The story encourages a weekly day of quiet, with family, in nature, a day without the frenetic pace of life—a message from which all can take heart.
A tale paced well for reading out loud, the illustrations should be shared so listeners can see Shoshi’s eyes when he’s playing hide-and-seek with the children, stubbornly refusing to plow for his new master Yohanan on Shabbat, and reflecting on Yohanan’s growing wisdom.
It’s a tale well told by a sure-footed author, well-matched with an illustrator who is a consummate storyteller.