It is fun when a random non-fiction book gets thrown into our night-time rotation by someone other than me. Last night, J pulled this one off of our shelf that I purchased when I was prepping a unit on Israel for our Hebrew school. It has been a favorite since it was purchased and it was a really nice change of pace from the chapter books that I’ve been reading with J. Some might argue that this isn’t pure non-fiction since it is told from the viewpoint of a fly and his cousin, but my feeling is that they function as tour guides on a realistic trip across Israel.
The word zvuvi actually means fly in Hebrew, and Zvuvi the fly is our main tour guide. Zvuvi meets up with his cousin Zahava at the Kotel, or wailing wall, and takes us on a brief visit to some of the biggest sites and some attractions that I had no idea even existed when I visited a few years ago. As they fly through the countryside and stop to explore, the reader is given names of places, informed about local crops and get to see how people in Israel live. Tel Aviv is shown as the bustling metropolis that it is, Galilee is the most productive agricultural region, Israeli figure skaters practice in Metulla at the northern tip of Israel, and Zahava begs to get to the spa at the Dead Sea. This is a marvelous book about a land that is far away. I personally have only been once and love that this book sparks a joy in my daughter who is biting at the chance to visit one day.
A side note – as I’ve mentioned multiple times, we are Jewish and I purchased this to teach Hebrew school. I was looking on a review on Goodreads and was shocked that someone found this book to be anti-Arab. Honestly, I had never noticed that and of course went back into the book to see what the images were like. When Zvuvi and Zahava eat a falafel, it had already fallen to the ground and the cook didn’t care. When they are in other parts of the country, they try to eat food that is either being cooked or a part of a picnic and are always swatted away. I don’t believe that it has anything to do with anti-Arab feelings. This is obviously my opinion, but I just thought I would throw it out there.
This book is a part of Kid Lit Frenzy’s non-fiction picture book Wednesday. We are currently up to 11 non-fiction picture books on the way to our goal of 50. Alyson is also joining up with some other great bloggers to have a #nf10for10 event today, so now I’m going to have to write another post this evening, as I love these events! We are getting the most amazing list of non-fiction picture books due to this challenge and I look forward to it every week. Check out her site for bloggers writing about wonderful non-fiction books.
I would love to visit Israel and this book sounds great to get kids interested in that trip too! What a fun premise.