The Toys' Visit
By Yemima Avidar-Tchernovitz
Illustrated by David Hall
Rama has been sick for three days. She lays in bed, and does not go out to play. Her toys decide to surprise her, and go pay her a visit. This is a story about friendship, concern for a friend's wellbeing, and visiting the sick.
Visiting the sick – Bikur Cholim
The mitzvah of visiting the sick has been part of Jewish tradition since the days of our forefather Abraham; many stories on the Jewish bookshelf describe the importance of visiting the sick. Helping a sick person and making them feel that others care for them, are concerned about them, and miss them, may be as therapeutic as medicine. In these wintry days, when a sneeze follows a cough, it's good to be reminded of the sick people around us, and of the importance of visiting them.
Yemima Avidar-Tchernovitz (1909–1995)
Yemima Avidar-Tchernovitz was born in Lithuania, and immigrated to the Land of Israel when she was 12. She began writing when she was in her teens, and told her early stories to the children in the Tel Aviv kindergartens in which she taught. Her stories were first published in the weekly children's magazine Davar Liyladim, and she also wrote radio skits, in which she also acted on the "youth corner" broadcasts. Generations of children and youth in Israel grew up reading the dozens of well-loved books she authored, among which are Muki is Angry with Mom, Stories for Nivi, Two Friends on the Road, Eight in Pursuit of One, and One of Ours. Yemima Avidar-Tchernovitz is a Zeev Prize laureate and was also awarded the Israel Prize for Children's Literature.
- Perhaps you could look for toys and stuffed animals at home, and use them to act the story out. You may want to keep the toys in a basket, and let your child continue acting the story out themselves.
- You might enjoy looking through the illustrations in the book together. You could take a look at the toy parade on its way to visit Rama. How are they supporting one another?
- You may want to ask your child who they think could use some medical attention aside from Rama. Shula the Doll is injured, her leg fell off a year ago… You may enjoy setting up a toy hospital: take all your "injured" dolls out of the closet, as well as the plastic toys that have lost their leg, or the soldiers who took a hit during playtime, and try to fix or "treat" them.
- Do you know anyone around you (a friend, neighbor, or relative) who is not well? You may want to think of ways to make them happy together with your child, such as drawing them a get-well card, calling them up, sending them something yummy, or paying them a proper visit.
- You may want to look at the illustration depicting Rama lying in her bed, unwell but smiling following her toys' visit. Do you think people who are sick feel better after their friends' had been to visit them? You may like to tell your child about a visit you had made to a sick person, or one you received when you were unwell.
- Try thinking together – what happened then? What did Rama do once she was well again? What did she tell her toys? How did they welcome her back when she returned to play with them? You could use your own toys to act out the next scenes in the story.
Enjoy reading and discussing the story together!