Purists may be puzzled at first, but readers will find themselves loving these Chelmites.

RIGHT SIDE UP

ADVENTURES IN CHELM

This book of folktales has a message, and it may not be inspirational: Anyone can be a Chelmite.

Many people know the origin story of Chelm. As Kimmel puts it: “God called the angels and said to them, ‘Take these sacks and spread the souls [inside] throughout the world.’ ” But a sack of fools tore open in transit, and they all landed in the same village. Kimmel’s Chelmites are a very diverse group. He writes: “Some readers may be surprised to encounter a woman rabbi and people of color in a Chelm story. That would have been highly unusual in Eastern Europe of the time, and the original Chelm stories reflected their time. So should ours.” Brown’s drawings make the wide variety of characters instantly lovable in just a few lines. The author embellishes the stories in ways that might startle people familiar with more-traditional versions. These Chelmites tore the sack themselves, clamoring to see where they were going. Some passages appear to be brand new. The Chelmites say morning prayers at all times of day or night, in case they get snowed in at daybreak. This leads the rabbi to make a truly lovely speech: “God always hears our prayers, no matter when we say them. And the beautiful snow is a blessing from Heaven, so why not enjoy it?”

Purists may be puzzled at first, but readers will find themselves loving these Chelmites. (Folktales. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68115-548-7

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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A fun story to share at Hanukkah—especially with the oil in the pan hot and ready for those yummy, crispy, fried holiday...

WAY TOO MANY LATKES

A HANUKKAH IN CHELM

Oy! Only in Chelm could there be such a problem—and such a solution.

Chelm, that beloved but very foolish village of old-time Eastern European Jewry, has a problem as the first day of Hanukkah approaches. Faigel makes the best latkes (potato pancakes fried in oil). But what is the recipe? She cannot remember. Her husband has the answer—or, rather, he knows whom to consult for the answer: the rabbi, who is the wisest man in the entire town. How many potatoes? All of them, says the rabbi. How many eggs? All of them, says the rabbi. How many onions? All of them, says the rabbi. How many mouths to eat all those mounds of deliciousness? All the villagers, says the rabbi. Glaser’s riff on a holiday tradition is told with lots of dialogue and the necessary understatement so important to Chelm tales. Zolotic’s flat, digitally composed illustrations, based on his background in animation, portray expressively bewildered and hungry white Chelmites with googly eyes and ultimately happy faces.

A fun story to share at Hanukkah—especially with the oil in the pan hot and ready for those yummy, crispy, fried holiday treats. (note on Chelm stories) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-2092-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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For people familiar with Jerusalem the images are recognizable. For a clear, complete, nuanced introduction, look elsewhere.

JOURNEY THROUGH JERUSALEM

This brief picture-book tour of Jerusalem has a clear Jewish and Christian viewpoint.

Three kittens and their mama are the tour guides. They provide diversion as they guide readers past iconic sites—beginning with a lesser-known windmill near Hezekiah’s Tunnel, through the Jaffa Gate of the Old City, past the Cardo columns built by the Romans, to the Western Wall outside the Dome of the Rock, and down Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They then take a light-rail train outside the Old City to the Mahane Yehuda Market, the Knesset building, and the Shrine of the Book. Mama cat provides commentary, explaining, for example, that the Knesset is “where all the important laws are made” and that the Shrine of the Book is the “special home of the oldest Hebrew Bible ever found.” In contrast, the Dome of the Rock is described as “built on a very sacred spot,” with no mention that it is a holy place for Muslims as well as for Jews. Stock photos with images of the cats superimposed are busy and often unclear. Explanations are incomplete, and the geopolitical, architectural, and religious complexity of Jerusalem is thereby given short shrift.

For people familiar with Jerusalem the images are recognizable. For a clear, complete, nuanced introduction, look elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68115-531-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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