Sylvia Rouss

Mitzvah the Mutt


This title is no longer available through Yotzeret Publishing. Please visit Sylvia Rouss’ website at to see if she has any copies left for sale. 

Matzah balls were never meant for a game of fetch, but try telling that to Mitzvah the Mutt when he is rescued by a Jewish family. Mitzvah’s silly antics manage to charm his family and his humorous misinterpretations of the Jewish holidays will leave you laughing and begging for more. Get ready for a howling good time as you celebrate Shabbat, Hanukkah and Passover with Mitzvah the Mutt.


by Sylvia Rouss
illustrated by Martha Rast

✡ PJ Our Way selection 2014
✡ Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Older Readers
✡ 2010 Bronze Medalist in Moonbeam Children’s Book Award for Juvenile Fiction

Sylvia Rouss is the award-winning author and early childhood educator who created the popular Sammy Spider and The Littlest books. Even with her success as an author, Sylvia has not given up what she loves most, teaching. She is currently a preschool teacher in Los Angeles, and says that she is “inspired by the children in my classroom.” Sylvia also received awards as an educator and she conducts seminars for parents and teachers. She is a featured author and lecturer at book fairs throughout the United States and Israel. Visit her on the web at

Additional information

Weight 0.33 lbs
Dimensions 5.83 × 8.27 × 0.23 in




Also Available As

eBook coming soon


2010 Bronze Medalist in Moonbeam Children's Book Award for Juvenile Fiction, PJ Our Way selection 2014, Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Older Readers

On sale

June 2010


JUV002070: JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Dogs, JUV033020: JUVENILE FICTION / Religious / Jewish


Sylvia Rouss


  1. Galit Breen

    “…the girls and I read Mitzvah the Mutt by Sylvia Rouss. Mitzvah’s a cutie, for sure, and really, what’s not to love about a dog muddling his way through the Jewish calendar with his new, beloved family? I read this book to my kids because I never pass up an opportunity to read to them. My kids read it because they couldn’t get enough of Sweet Mitzvah.

    Thank you Sylvia Rouss. Thank you for a book that my children can love and relate to and that inspires them to extend and streeeeetch their Judaism.”

    Galit Breen
    Minnesota Mamaleh

  2. Andrea Davidson

    “Readers will laugh at Mitzvah’s zany misadventures…Rouss uses Mitzvah’s humorous interpretations of the celebrations and his reactions to the food, along with short chapters, large print, and lots of white space, to make this appropriate for the intended audience of children 6-9. However, by having Mitzvah use the terms “Mommy” and “Daddy,” she makes her reading audience younger, so that this could be read with children as young as five years of age.”

    Andrea Davidson
    Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

    Temple Tifereth Israel
    Beachwood, Ohio

  3. Avi A. Lewinson

    “In a dog eat dog world, Mitzvah, a loveable dog with a floppy-ear, is the perfect guide for teaching children. If you think there is a better way to learn about Jewish holidays and traditions, you’re barking up the wrong tree.”

    Avi A. Lewinson
    Executive Director
    Kaplen JCC on the Palisades

  4. Lauren Marcus Johnson

    “In Mitzvah the Mutt, Sylvia Rouss makes Jewish family life accessible to all readers, regardless of background, through the humorous tales of a dog settling into his new family. Great read-aloud story for families with young children.”

    Lauren Marcus Johnson, Director
    Temple Israel Libraries & Media Center
    West Bloomfield, MI

  5. Jewish Book World

    “In this amusing easy chapter book, Mitzvah the Mutt, a likable floppy-eared dog with a crooked smile, tells his own tale of being adopted by a nice Jewish family while learning about the holidays of Shabbat, Hanukkah, and Passover. It all begins when a young girl wanders into a toy store out of sight of her mother, and it is Mutt who finds her, resulting in both his new home and a new name: Mitzvah. Mitzvah as narrator enjoys reporting on the many activities taking place in the household including setting the Shabbat table, making latkes, and singing Dayenu. Much like Amelia Bedelia, Mitzvah often misinterprets what he sees and hears, offering young readers the opportunity to chuckle knowingly, adding to the book’s appeal. For example, Mitzvah thinks it is a bit unusual that his family puts “tennis” balls in their chicken soup. And whenever Bubbie and Zaydie come over, Mitzvah notices Bubbie is constantly telling Zaydie to wash his hands, even though Mitzvah has just licked them clean. For all its silly humor, this book employs Mitzvah more as a narrative device than a fully formed character, and the voice of Mitzvah reads more like a funny kid than a dog. Still, children will enjoy the book’s short chapters, familiar holiday themes, and the fact that they’re in on the jokes.”

    Jewish Book World
    Spring 2011

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