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About the Author
Ag Jatkowska has been drawing and playing with color ever since she can remember. She lives and works in the UK, illustrating books and greeting cards among other projects. Ag graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk (Poland) with an MA in Graphic Design and Illustration. In her spare time, she loves to discover new places and taking long walks with her husband and little son.
Various animal homes are described, including nests, trees, underground, and ponds, ending with a human family's cozy house. The concept that home is peaceful is celebrated in this story with wide appeal. The full-color artwork may have been done using watercolors and shows animals in a variety of habitats. -- BayViews-- "Journal"
A graceful observation of various calm and loving animal and human homes. In this pleasant, nature-inspired board book, readers see various animals living in 'shalom bayit'--'quiet places, peaceful homes'--before the book closes on a human Jewish family relaxing in their house. Peppy rhyming couplets--'A turtle makes a sandy mound. / A worm lives safely underground'--have a nice sound to them, and the short tidbits of information they impart about the different habitats and shelters of disparate forest animals are accurate. With sweetly anthropomorphized animals, complete with serene smiles and rosy cheeks, this is nature at its most passive and tranquil. Gauzy, multilayered illustrations feel inspired by the indistinct look of watercolors, and there's plenty of charm in the busy landscapes and scurrying gray squirrels or big-eared mice. Botanical elements are especially well rendered. At points, this chill vibe feels too sedate, especially when it extends to the scene with the human family, as those three kids sitting suspiciously still in their tidy living room may not exactly mirror reality. While the book's connection to its overall concept of 'shalom bayit, ' or domestic harmony, feels rather tenuous, it may speak to some Jewish households and would be a welcome book for any nature-loving toddler. Likable art and a peaceable concept. -- Kirkus Reviews-- "Journal"
A lovely book with a message of the peace of nature around us includes the Jewish concept of shalom bayit in a successful way. The illustrations will be super appealing to young children and the possibilities for kids to point out various animals and learn about their homes is welcome. The words flow very smoothly and match the text well. -- Lisa Silverman, Library Director, Burton Sperber Jewish Community Library, Los Angeles, CA-- "Magazine"
This children's book teaches that Shalom Bayit means 'peace in the home' in Hebrew. It gives different examples of homes that animals live in. One example is it gives a picture of some birds and their home as a nest in a tree. Other animals have their homes in other places like in the water, sand, underground, etc. It gives an example of what a peaceful home for humans looks like as well. I really like that this book gives examples of shalom bayit, peaceful homes for both animals and humans. It will show children differences in what peaceful homes are for both groups. It can help them to understand that what may be peaceful and harmonious to one animal might not be considered peaceful and harmonious to another. I think some discussion questions about why certain homes for certain animals might be good for them but not for other animals and humans would be beneficial if there are any discussions about the book during or after it is read. I learned that Shalom Bayit can also mean domestic harmony and good relations in family life for the Hebrew way of life. I think that this book can help give ideas that congregation homes should be peaceful, also, since that is one type of home that is out there for humans, even though they don't mention congregation homes in this book. I hope that this book will be read to a lot of children and that it would get read to those children many times so that it will hopefully stick in their minds that a home is supposed to be peaceful and that it will stick so much that they will strive to make their homes peaceful in the future as adults. I also hope that it helps adults that read it to children to strive to make their homes peaceful, or more peaceful if their homes are not already peaceful. -- Jill Harris-- "Blog"