Category Archives: Books

Bijoy and the Big River – Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

This review is part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day.

Bijoy is a boy living in Assam. He’s more than that though. Through him, Meera Sriram and Praba Ram tell children a story. His life is the story of where silk comes from. But more importantly, this story is about how people live in rural India. He is a proxy for a tale that teaches children about one aspect of a completely different world. Continue reading Bijoy and the Big River – Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review

Baby Play – A Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review

Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

This review is part of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. 

It’s hard to review a book for babies – there’s just not as much to it as a novel, or even a book for children. So I wasn’t sure what I would write about Baby Play, a book by Carol McDougall and Shanda LaRamee-Jones. I read it once to myself, and Angelfish read it as well. It was cute, but lacked the character development that I usually like in my books. Of course, I wasn’t the target audience. What would happen when I read it to Minnow? Continue reading Baby Play – A Multicultural Children’s Book Day Review

Who will watch the oil? A review of the Mensch on a Bench

 

 

Disclosure: Dad on the Loose was provided a free copy of the book discussed for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

The cover of Mensch on a Bench
The cover of the Mensch on a Bench

The Mensch on a Bench is the Kickstarter-funded Jewish answer to the Elf on the Shelf. Available as a 12 inch doll that sits, wait for it, on a bench, Unlike the Elf, the Mensch doesn’t report to anyone. Instead, it holds the shamash, or the candle that lights all of the other candles on the menorah. When the children behave, he lets go of the candle (so they can light the menorah and receive their presents). When they misbehave, he keeps it. The doll comes with a book, or the book can be purchased on its own.

The book begins with the story of Chanukah – there is only enough oil left for one night. A random man offers to watch the oil to make sure that the lamp it is lighting does not go out. Each day, the Mensch does something special, from creating dreidels, to giving all of the children gifts. It ends with the eight rules for the Mensch on the Bench and how he should be treated. Unlike the Elf on the Shelf, it is encouraged that he be included in all activities. He’s not just an observer.

Guppy poses with the book
Guppy poses with the book.

My Take: I like the book. The story is a lot of fun for kids, and is well-written. It’s a cute way to introduce kids to the story of Chanukah, and the holiday’s traditions. From latkes to dreidels, the Mensch does it all. This lets parents talk about where these things really come from and why we celebrate Chanukah with them. It also sets up the idea that we do good for each other and, perhaps more importantly, that the important thing is giving to others in this time, instead of getting presents. I would recommend the doll for a similar age group as the Elf on the Shelf (probably under 8, but know your kids). I would recommend the book for kids in elementary school.

Essential Information:

The Mensch on a Bench is available at the website’s shop, here. The book alone is $9.95. The book plus doll (and bench) is $29.95

URL: http://www.themenschonthebench.com

Twitter: @MenschOnABench

Facebook: facebook.com/TheMenschOnABench