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Children's Fiction Jewish

An Egg for Shabbat

by (author) Mirik Snir

illustrated by Eleyor Snir

Lerner Publishing Group
Initial publish date
Mar 2021
Jewish, Parents, Values & Virtues
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2021
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2021
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: p to 1
  • Reading age: 6 to 7


Every day Ben’s mom sends him out to fetch an egg from the chicken pen. But each day, havoc ensues and Ben comes back empty-handed. Until finally, just in time for Shabbat, he achieves his goal.

About the authors

Mirik Snir was born in 1948, during the Israeli War of Independence. She was raised and educated in Kibbutz Kfar Giladi, as one of twelve siblings. She married Israel Snir from Kibbutz Neve-Eitan, where they lived for 20 years. Mirik is a mother of nine children, a grandmother of fifteen grandchildren, Author, Poet, and elementary school and special education teacher.

Mirik Snir's profile page

Illustrator Eleyor Snir is Mirik’s daughter, the fourth of nine children. A professional illustrator, her unique style is composed of naive and vivid illustrations. Born and raised in Israel, she now works from her home studio in British Columbia on book illustrations, stationery products, ketubot and wall art.

Eleyor Snir's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Can a frolicsome boy carry an egg from the coop to the kitchen?
As the book opens, readers are greeted by a picture of a happy hen with a just-laid egg beneath the word Sunday. Mom, busy in the kitchen that morning, sends Ben to the chicken coop for that egg. Alas, Ben plays ball with the egg, and his cat licks up the mess. Understanding Mom responds: 'Oh, Ben, my dear. Oh, son of mine. / You learned a lesson, and that's fine.' Monday comes, and now two hens with two eggs are depicted. Ben sets off; again collecting one, he attempts to balance it on his head. (There is no seeming relation between the number of hens and eggs seen on pages announcing the days and the number of eggs Ben collects.) Alas, it falls, and the cat enjoys it. Mom repeats her mantra. The rest of the week follows, with one more hen and one more egg added to the mix each day. Each time, Mom stays busy in the kitchen, and Ben gets too adventuresome as he runs, skips, and trips with those easily breakable eggs. Finally, Friday arrives and Ben successfully brings home one egg, which Mom uses to brush on her braided challahs to 'make them shine.' Both sit down to a festive Shabbat dinner, and on Shabbat they rest. The humorous tale is told in rhyming couplets with lots of verbal repetition; some dialogue is in speech bubbles. Reds and blues are featured in the paneled illustrations. Mom and Ben have pink-tinged round faces with round red cheeks. The hens are colorfully adorned.
A celebration of Shabbat for the very young." — Kirkus Reviews


"The end­pa­pers of An Egg for Shab­bat fea­ture chick­ens, each one wear­ing a dif­fer­ent col­ored triple-tiered scarf. There are also kit­tens in dif­fer­ent pos­es and an assort­ment of eggs inter­spersed among the ani­mals. Mirik Snir and Eley­or Snir, a moth­er and daugh­ter team, have cre­at­ed a book about prepar­ing for Shab­bat that also teach­es about cause and effect, the pass­ing of time, and the week’s reas­sur­ing cycle of events. Using a com­ic strip for­mat and rhyming text, this clever pic­ture book address­es the age-old ques­tion of which came first, the chick­en or the egg, with a unique­ly Jew­ish spin.

Each sec­tion of the book con­cep­tu­al­izes one day of the week with a num­ber of chick­ens cor­re­spond­ing to that day’s order. Sun­day begins with one bird and one request by Ben’s moth­er to bring her an egg from the ani­mal pen. Pic­tures in blue and gray alter­nate with bright­ly col­ored scenes as cap­tions and word bub­bles tell the sto­ry. At first, Ben exper­i­ments with how to safe­ly trans­port the egg. Lat­er, he learns that, even with the most reli­able method, acci­dents can hap­pen. Legit­i­mate curios­i­ty about what is inside the egg also leads to prob­lems. Ben wor­ries about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of dis­ap­point­ing his moth­er but she patient­ly repeats that he 'learned a les­son, and that’s fine.' By the end of the week, Ben has syn­the­sized a num­ber of dif­fer­ent lessons which are del­i­cate­ly illus­trat­ed in a minia­ture list includ­ing: 'I will not toss eggs in the air, No eggs on head, I wouldn’t dare.'

The spe­cial bond between moth­er and child shines in every pic­ture. Ben’s moth­er wears a dark red and white striped tunic, which match­es Ben’s red boots. In anoth­er scene, Ben sits among the chick­ens, lov­ing­ly hold­ing one up to his cheek as he asks him­self, 'What have I learned so far this week?' His ques­tion echoes his mother’s state­ments about the val­ue of learn­ing from mistakes.

At week’s end, Ben’s moth­er brings out the chal­lah she has baked and asks him to com­plete it by glaz­ing the loaf with eggs; the pur­pose of the week’s events becomes clear to both Ben and to young read­ers. The cel­e­bra­tion of Shab­bat is real­is­ti­cal­ly divid­ed into two pic­tures. The first is a Shab­bat evening table where only Ben and his moth­er are seat­ed, accen­tu­at­ing their close­ness. There are glow­ing can­dles, a sim­ple wine bot­tle and glass, and a col­or­ful bou­quet in a blue-and-white vase mim­ic­k­ing Delft pot­tery. The back­ground of yel­low flow­ers and tiny six-point­ed stars is under­stat­ed. The day of Shab­bat has a more styl­ized rep­re­sen­ta­tion of rest, with moth­er and son lying qui­et­ly against a black and white background.

When Sun­day returns, Ben’s moth­er calls him again. This time, a parade of chick­ens is pre­ced­ed by the prover­bial egg, reaf­firm­ing that Ben’s impor­tant errand to retrieve the egg is real­ly the begin­ning of the Jew­ish week, which will even­tu­al­ly cul­mi­nate in a day of cel­e­bra­tion and rest. — Emily Schineider, Jewish Book Council


Other titles by Mirik Snir

Other titles by Eleyor Snir