By: Lesley Simpson
Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
Publication Date: March 2011
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 2011
Under the dark of night a line of people on foot were trying to escape Ethiopia, but five-year-old Yuvi was seated atop a donkey because she was so small and “had no shoes.” There were whispers in the night about robbers and the hyenas began to scream, making everyone fearful. Yuvi’s grandmother tried to comfort her by saying, “We are going to Jerusalem. We have angels with us. We’ll fly home.” The journey continued and she was anxious to join her mother and baby brother who had gone to Jerusalem before them. Their clothes became soiled and hunger set in, but they could still pretend they had Ethiopian bread and “make-believe coffee made of stones” on Shabbat. It was going to be a difficult journey.
Yuvi was in a cradle her grandmother had slung around the donkey’s belly, but that did not protect her from the sands nor give her water. The fear continued and there were no angels to be seen, but she began to dream of candy. Her grandmother once again told her about Jerusalem and the angels, but when the robbers came to steal what little they had Yuvi peered up at her grandmother in wonderment. There was little money left to complete their journey, but even a five-year-old could help. Yuvi and the others were feeling the pangs of thirst and their bodies told the pain of the march. Would they ever make it to Jerusalem? Were there really angels?
This is a heartwarming fictional story based on Yuvi Tashome’s escape from Ethiopia to Israel. The tale is so well done I could almost hear the voice of Yuvi as a very young child. Yuvi’s story was that of many Jews as they tried to escape to Israel. Yuvi is one of many Ethiopians who fled to Sudan and was “later airlifted to Israel as part of Operation Moses.” The artwork, which meshes perfectly with this tale, swirls though the book like the desert sands capturing the fearfulness of the fleeing people. In the afterward the author briefly discusses Yuvi, her life, and the inspiration for the story.
Quill says: If you are interested in the exodus of Jews from Ethiopia, Operation Moses, and want to believe in angels, this wonderfully told tale is one you should consider adding to your homeschool or classroom library!