I read somewhere that today was Amy Hest's birthday, but I can't confirm it and I do not know what year she was born in. Nevertheless, today is a good day to talk about her contribution to children's literature. She is well known to my clientele because of Sam and Baby Duck. Sam is a small bear who interacts with his mother in Kiss Good Night; Don't You Feel Well, Sam? and You Can Do It, Sam doing all the things that a young child does to and with his mother. They are made even better by Anita Jeram's bright illustrations. Similarly, the Baby Duck books are anthropomorphological. In them, Baby Duck learns to swim (You Can Swim, Baby Duck!), comes to terms with wearing glasses (Baby Duck and the New Eyeglasses), going to school (Off to School, Baby Duck) and other everyday events in a young child's life. With these Amy has been very fortunate to have Jill Barton as the illustrator because she adds 'charm' and humour to everyday life.
As well as these two series Amy has many single titles worth seeking out, the best of which are the P.J. Lynch illustrated When Jessie Came Across the Sea and The Friday Nightsof Nana. The first tells the story of thirteen year old Jessie who emigrates from east Europe to America, so it is foran older, more sophisticated audience than many of Amy Hest's other books. The second is a wonderful way to introduce non-Jewish children to the specialness of the Friday night Sabbath family celebration.