Written by Tuvia Dikman Oro
Illustrated by Menahem Halberstadt
Price: £10.99 / $12.99
Subject: Touching story about seeing the best in people
Tale about two friends who set off to get their bicycles fixed and encounter setbacks brought about by their friends along the way
Reminds children not to judge people quickly and to see situations from someone else’s point of view
Beautifully-illustrated by Menahem Halberstadt
“But perhaps, just maybe.” suggested Hedgehog, “Mr Billy Goat saw a big hole in the road and sealed it off so no one would fall in.”
A beautifully-illustrated picture book for young readers, that teaches children to have the patience to look past annoyances, and not judge people too quickly.
Duck and Hedgehog wheel their broken bicycles to Mrs. Hoopoe’s Bicycle Shop to get their fit tyres fixed. Suddenly, Cat whizzes past them on her motorcycle, leaving Duck and Hedgehog choking on clouds of dust. Duck is annoyed, but Hedgehog suggests that maybe Cat is rushing off to see her injured sister.
Afterwards, Duck and Hedgehog have to navigate around a rock rolled into the street by Mr. Billy Goat. Once again, Duck is irritated, but Hedgehog wonders if Mr. Billy Goat was trying to fill a pothole in the road. When Duck and Hedgehog, tired and hungry, want to snack on raspberries along the way, they discover that Mrs. Fox has picked all the fruit.
Duck is understandably grumpy, but Hedgehog imagines Mrs. Fox might have picked the berries to share with friends. Finally, at Mrs. Hoopoe’s Bicycle Shop, Duck and Hedgehog catch up with Cat, Mr. Billy Goat and Mrs. Fox.
As everyone enjoys raspberry juice together, Duck realises that Hedgehog was right all along, and that his friends each had good reasons for unintentionally creating the earlier problems!
Tuvia Dikman Oro lives in a small village in the Galilee, in a place where a stream opens up and you can see the sea and also, in the distance, an ancient fortress. He prepares honey and sweet, healthy spreads. He has three children. And he loves electric guitars.
Menahem Halberstadt began to draw in school, scribbling in notebooks and creating funny creatures and characters. Since school, all of his work has been inspired by his interests as a creator, to create worlds of characters with emotions and stories. Halberstadt studied painting and drawing under the instruction of the famous Israeli artists Leonid Balaklav and Aram Gershuni. Following this, he studied animation at the Betzalel Academy and graphic design at Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem. Halberstadt now works as an illustrator with a number of publishing houses in Israel. He lives in Israel with his wife and four children.
‘Stop me if you’ve heard this one before; a duck and a hedgehog set off for the bicycle repair shop. Actually, Tuvia Dikman Oro and Menahem Halberstadt’s picture book featuring these animals is not a joke but rather a gentle interpretation of the guidelines for judging human behavior from the Pirke Avot (Ethics of the Fathers). The second century B.C.E. scholar, Joshua Ben Perahiah, cautioned, “Find for yourself a teacher, choose for yourself a friend, and judge everyone with the scale weighted in their favor.” This directive is the epigraph for But Perhaps, Just Maybe…, because it is not always easy to keep this tenet in mind, particularly when you are angry or frustrated…
Young readers will empathize with Duck and Hedgehog’s sense of urgency; their bicycles are broken and there are many obstacles on the road to solving their problem. The text describes the facts of their adventure but also includes many details that bring the characters to life. A zooming motorcycle raises a “billowing cloud of dust,” and a cat reports that her sister had “tripped and sprained the tip of her whisker.” The pictures share the quality of the words, with broadly drawn animals resembling those in folk tales, but also with touches of color and light that make them real.
Duck and Hedgehog’s opposing views of behavior would seem to imply that they are on two parallel paths, destined to never meet. But, in fact, just maybe, the book proves that we can sometimes admit when we are wrong and move forward. A working bicycle, a glass of raspberry juice, and even an improved friendship, may await.’ – Emily Schneider, Jewish Book Council
Why is this book so wonderful? First of all, it is based on a verse from Ethics of the Fathers (Pirke Avot). Not only is Pirke Avot our favorite Jewish text, but the book is based on one of our favorite verses, which is translated so beautifully as the beginning of the book:
Joshua ben Perahiah would say: Find for yourself a teacher, choose for yourself a friend, and judge everyone with the scale weighted in their favor (Chapter 1, Verse 6). The verse is often translated as “Make for yourself a rabbi, acquire for yourself a friend, and give everyone the benefit of the doubt.”
Either way, these are important words to live by.
Next, the adorable illustrations by Menahem Halberstadt, illustrator of many children’s book and the man behind the art in the hit series Shtisel. The use of native Israeli animals and birds — the hedgehog (kipod – very popular in kid’s books and TV shows) and the hoopoe (national bird of Israel) — gives the book an Israeli flavor, even though the story could have taken place anywhere.
Then you have Duck and Hedgehog whose bicycles both have flat tires. While Duck is continually frustrated by others’ actions, Hedgehog keeps repeating the refrain, “But perhaps, just maybe,” finding alternate explanations for things like a cat stirring up dust and a rock in the road while they walk their bicycles to the repair shop.
So not only do we learn about giving the benefit of the doubt, we learn about choosing a friend that can be positive and see things differently. And, of course, at the end, Hedgehog was right about all the situations they encountered.
We love this book, and perhaps, just maybe… you’ll love it, too!’
‘There are not many picture books based on verses from Pirke Avot. This simple story, translated from Hebrew, is an example of what can be done to demonstrate the sages’ words.
‘Halberstadt’s palette combines earth tones and more vibrant ones in a quirky mix which really vibes with Oro’s text, which is translated here from the original Hebrew by Gila Kahn-Hoffman’ – Sydney Taylor Schmooze