This picture book, "Itamar Makes Friends: A Children's Story of Jewish Brotherhood" by Josh Hasten and Illustrated by S. Kim Glassman, is innocuous enough, but I wish it had attempted more. The protagonist, Itamar, is an eight-year-old Israeli, who lives in the country. When he goes to visit his cousins in the city, he has an unpleasant encounter with some city boys, who refuse to return his soccer ball. After Itamar falls and hurts his knee, one of the city boys, Eitan, remembers a time when he hurt himself playing soccer and tries to correct the situation by helping Itamar and apologizing. Itamar then invites the group to visit him in the country. They come, all have a great time, and "Jewish brotherhood" is restored.

I was mostly bothered by the facile solution to the bullying stage of the story. While one would like to believe that children would apologize and make everything okay, I found it to be just too pat an answer. But for young children, this story could be a way to illustrate how to empathize and apologize to another after being unkind.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher through LibraryThing.