HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Remembering Box
Author: Eth Clifford
Illustrator: Donna Diamond
Publisher: HarperCollins, republished 1992
ISBN-13: 978-0395384763 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0395384761 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0688117775 Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-0688117771 Paperback
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8 – 12
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Category: Historical fiction
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Clifford, Eth. The Remembering Box (Published in 1985by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company, 2 Park St., Boston, MA 02108; republished in 1992 by Beech Tree Paperback Books, New York City, NY). It is 1942, and nine (almost ten) year old Joshua Beck lives in New York City, NY, with his father Joseph, mother, younger brothers Ari and Daniel, and baby sister Shoshanah. Ever since he was five years old, Joshua spends every Friday night and every Saturday with his grandmother Goldina, celebrating the Jewish Sabbath. On Friday night, Grandma blesses the Sabbath lights, and the two share a traditional meal. On Saturday afternoon, they settle down with a box they call “the remembering box.” Joshua draws an item from the box, and Grandma tells its story. And they are wonderful stories about her grandfather Schmuel the water finder; Mazel, her horse when she was a girl; her other grandfather Shimon the candlestick maker; and Abba, her late husband and Joshua’s grandfather.
Is Joshua really interested in Grandma Goldina’s stories? Does he even listen to them? Or has Grandma just been wasting her words by talking into the air? The Remembering Box is a quiet and beautifully told story about the legacy that a Jewish grandmother gives her grandson. Joshua’s weekly visits to his beloved grandmother on the Jewish Sabbath give him an understanding of love, family, and tradition. Author Eth Clifford Rosenberg, whose best-known title is Help! I’m a Prisoner in the Library (1979), does a remarkable job of depicting a very special relationship between the boy and the elderly women, both of whom seem very real and very dear. Hopefully, it will help youngsters to appreciate their relationships with their grandparents. There is a bit of sadness at the end, but the story has a satisfactory conclusion.