Shalom Everybodeee!: Grover's Adventures in Israel
Journey to Israel with furry loveable Grover from Sesame Street as he visits the Western Wall, participates in an archaeological dig, shops in the Machane Yehuda market, eats yummy drippy falafel, visits a kibbutz, hikes the twisty snake path to the top of Masada, floats in the Dead Sea, rides a camel and shares the hospitality of a Bedouin family. The fifth in Kar-Ben's 'Shalom Sesame' series.
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About the Author
Tilda Balsley has written many books for Kar-Ben, bringing her stories to life with rhyme, rhythm, and humor. Tilda lives with her husband and their rescue Shih Tzu in Reidsville, North Carolina.
Tom Leigh is a children's book author and longtime illustrator of Sesame Street and Muppet books. He lives on Little Deer Isle off the coast of Maine.
Kar-Ben and Sesame Street have another hit in their partnership of books with Jewish content. Grover goes to Israel, in the fifth book in the series. The familiar furry blue friend is extremely up-to-date as he sends email from his trusty blue laptop to his friends at home. He takes the bus into Jerusalem, trades dollars for shekels, and learns not only to say Shalom, which means hello, but is confused by the concept that Shalom also means good-bye and peace.
When he arrives at the bus station in Jerusalem, he is met by his friends Brosh and Avigail, and finds everyone rushing around preparing for Shabbat. Starting on the first day, he regularly sends email accompanied by pictures describing his daily adventures. The illustrations, allegedly from his camera or laptop, lend vitality and reality to the story. On his first day he is pictured buying flowers for Shabbat, and the second picture portrays him putting a prayer for Abby's sick grandmother into a crack in the Kotel.
The descriptions are funny and extremely true to Grover. On an archeological dig, he finds a fuzzy blue hair in the dirt, which he sends a picture of to his friends but he then finds it was from his own head! In addition, as it turns out, a tennis sneaker in the dirt belongs to another member of the group.
Some of the additional places he visits are Machane Yehuda, an enormous market in Jerusalem; Masada, where he gets exhausted hiking the Snake Path (his email that day describes the Snake Path as 'a long walk up and a long walk down', and is signed by Your Tired Pal, Grover); Yam Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee; and the Dead Sea. His email from this lowest place on earth is signed, 'Your salty monster, Grover'. He takes a camel ride on Fatima across the desert and visits a Bedouin tent. In Eilat, he swims with the dolphins. When he gets hungry he eats a messy felafel -- which looks a lot like meatballs but is made of chickpeas -- and a ripe pomegranate. He is also a volunteer on a kibbutz, which he makes real for the reader. On the last day he plants a tree with his own hands, in honor of his Sesame Street friends.
Grover is as cute and adorable as always, and fills his reports home with wonderful humor. The descriptions of his adventures are always age-appropriate for the designated audience. There is rhythm in his story, and the reader can truly hear Grover speaking the words he is writing. The illustrations are true to life and add to the travelogue. Colorful illustrations of the undersea life near Eilat are particularly outstanding.
Recommended as a read-to for readers ages 2-5. -- Jewish Book Council
The best way to experience this book is to find someone who does a really good Grover impression for a read-aloud. Grover has one of the most distinctive voices in the history of children's television, and all Sesame Street fans will hear that voice in their heads as soon as they pick up the book. The authors have captured his speech pattern perfectly. The book is full of phrases like 'Hello everybodeee!' and 'I am so confused!' People who aren't familiar with the show may find the plot slight and episodic: Grover lands at the airport in Israel and trades his dollars for shekels. Grover takes part in a camel race with Bedouins. It's an informative-enough guide to Israel (though the section on Masada carefully leaves out its violent military history), and Grover is always getting into trouble in entertaining ways. ('Camels, ' he says, 'can be very rude.') Leigh also draws very funny pictures of livestock, and he depicts the Sesame Street characters with loving fidelity. But none of that stops Grover's travels from feeling slightly aimless. Dedicated viewers of the show will be thrilled with the book. Other readers might enjoy it more with Grover around to act it out. -- Kirkus Reviews-- "Journal"
Grover travels to Israel and enjoys many typical tourist activities. He describes the sights in emails back to his Sesame Street friends. The vibrantly colored illustrations, covering each double page from edge to edge, show him visiting the Western Wall, finding a piece of an ancient jug at an archaeological dig, shopping at Machane Yehudah, working on a kibbutz, climbing Masada, covered with Dead Sea mud, visiting Bedouins, and snorkeling. On his last day, he plants a tree in honor of his Sesame Street friends. Grover teaches the reader/listener and his friends back home Hebrew words and facts about Shabbat and all the locations he visits. The handful of Hebrew words are written in transliterated English and four of them include simple, unvoweled Hebrew block letters. His detailed emails are printed in easily read, black and multi-colored fonts, each beginning with the greeting, 'Shalom everybodeee!'and placed attractively at the bottom or top of pages. Grover seems to be visiting an Israel populated with monsters like him, as all those pictured have cute colored noses and magenta, fuchsia, chartreuse, orange, and royal blue skin or fur! Since the emails are appropriately short, the large, clear illustrations convey details that teach additional facts about the sites. Enjoy your visit to Israel - you'll learn a lot and smile from cover to cover. -- AJL Reviews-- "Magazine"