When a piece of red cloth falls from the sky, a shoeshine boy sets out to try to find its owner. This simple premise leads to a book with much to explore, not just for the 5- and 6-year-olds who will receive it, but for younger and older children too.
The panel illustrations and speech bubbles give Laundry Day the feel of a comic book or graphic novel, with plenty to interest children visually. Some of those panels are wordless, giving kids scope to make up their own text as they read the book with a parent or grandparent.
The varied cultural mix of the New York City setting has elements in common with urban neighbourhoods in the UK, and this variety is brought to life through the use of some words in different languages, including Yiddish. There’s even a glossary and pronunciation guide at the front of the book.
The inclusion of a rabbi among the cast of characters is not the only Jewish content in Laundry Day. There is a commandment in the Torah to return lost objects (hashavat aveidah), and to treat found objects with care until they are reunited with their owner. When the shoeshine boy finds the owner of the scarf, he truly does a mitzvah!
February 19, 2018