Fans of Susan Gal’s work can easily pinpoint what make it so special – she captures a certain glow and coziness that pulls the viewer into the scene and allows us to feel the joy and affection of her characters.
This warmth makes her a perfect fit for books requiring a gentle touch and a little sensitivity, and the rave reviews for “Here is the World,” a children’s title that focuses on Jewish holidays, are further proof that this talented artist has a beautiful gift that is heightened by her compassion.
Here is what Kirkus had to say in their August 15 issue:
“The year’s range of Jewish holidays and celebrations are presented in this repeating, rhyming chant that features key succinct elements for each. “Here are your parents, with arms open wide./ Here are your siblings, to stand by your side.” Beginning in early fall, Newman carefully chooses a new baby girl’s naming ceremony, not usually represented i other literature, followed by a Shabbat candle lighting, dinner and visit to the synagogue. She then launches into the high holy days of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kuppur, Sukkot and Simhat Torah. Winter leads with Hanukkah, followed by Tu B’Shevat and Purim before the traditional spring celebrations of Passover and Shavuot. An early summer Shabbat picnic brings the year full circle. Bookending this annual list with Shabbat observances reflects the significance the Sabbath holds in Judaism. Gal’s illustrations provide a visual narrative, ending with a first birthday party for the baby named at the outset; the story culminates with her family marveling at the “ever-changing world” and wonder of their child. Charcoal drawings enhanced with digital collage create textured, festive scenes for each of the ceremonial traditions. Backmatter explanations fill out the basics (including the bris, or boys’ welcome ceremony) with a specific craft or activity for each holiday. Both lovely and eminently useful.”
We also came across this wonderful piece from Publisher’s Weekly:
“For an observant Jewish family, a year continually offers cause for celebration – especially when a newly arrived baby sister kicks off the cycle with a naming ceremony: “Here is the rabbi, with blessings to share./ Here is a wish and a hope and a prayer.” The simple couplets, which begin with the repeating phrase “Here is/are,” for a dash of liturgical rhythm, chronicle a year of togetherness in the home, in the synagogue (“open to all”), and in the outdoors: “Here is the shofar, its sound pure and sweet,” she writes about Rosh Hashanah, “Here are some apples and honey to eat.” (In keeping with the lighthearted mood, Yom Kippur is represented by a delicious “break-fast.”) Illustrating the change of seasons, Gal’s charcoal and digital collage images effervesce with cheery colors, moving from the radiant gold, yellows, and reds of autumn to the greens and blues of spring – with a stop in snowy winter for Chanukah, of course. A glossary, crafts ideas, and recipes conclude the book.”
We have always enjoyed working with Susan and are so pleased to hear that her latest title is receiving such wonderful reviews. Congratulations!!