How about Changing Places?
Written by: Dafna Strum
Illustrated by: Jenny Meilihove
The main character in this story is happy right where he is. He is not inclined to change places with the cow, goldfish or bee; he even passes up the opportunity to be a dragon for a day, because he likes being in kindergarten, and his heart is full of joy.
"Rejoice, Young Man, in your childhood" (Ecclesiastes 11:9)
Are we happy where we are? We may think, sometimes, that we would like to change places with others, and be where the grass seems greener. This verse from Ecclesiastes underscores the beauty of childhood and youth, and recommends we rejoice in and enjoy them.
This book encourages parents and children to have an open discussion, and seek satisfaction and joy right where we are.
Proposed Family Activities:
- Reading the illustrations
You may want to look at the graceful illustrations together. You could stop on each page, and look for amusing details. Have you found the drawing hen, egg-laying boy, and tower-building bee? What else about the illustrations was funny?
- Everyone goes to kindergarten
What do you see on your way to kindergarten? Do you, like the child in the story, see a grocery store, a dog, a baby in a carriage, or a café? Does a pink car pass you by? You may want to draw the route to kindergarten together, adding details about the places and people you encounter on your way.
You could act the story out using puppets and stuffed animals. Ask one another: "Would you like to change places? It'll be such fun!" Perhaps you could add other animals and characters who want to go to kindergarten too.
The boy in the story meets a different animal each day. Does your child know the days of the week? Do you have fixed plans, like afternoon classes or other activities on certain days? Or a shorter day on Friday? And what do you do on Shabbat, when you do not go to kindergarten? You may enjoy making a chart representing the days of the week, and drawing your daily activities under each day.
On the final page of the book, the children and animals perform the Friday Night ritual known as Kabbalat Shabbat. How is Shabbat marked in your child's kindergarten? You may enjoy having your own Kabbalat Shabbat ceremony at home, and sing Shabbat songs, just as they do in kindergarten.
Sometimes it is hard to get up and go to kindergarten in the morning. Is your child always happy to go to kindergarten? After reading this story, you may find a game to make getting ready easier in the mornings, and help your child go to kindergarten with a smile on their face.