Hanukkah happiness for the very young.

THERE WAS A YOUNG RABBI

A HANUKKAH TALE

A rabbi and her family enjoy a food- and fun-filled holiday.

“There was a young rabbi / who read from the Torah. / She read from the Torah / and lit the menorah. / She lit the menorah, / as we all know, / to remember a miracle / from a long time ago.” To the rhythm of the familiar cumulative rhyme “There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly,” the rabbi then makes herself busy in the kitchen frying latkes. These are “latkes so yummy” that “filled up her tummy.” She also makes applesauce for the latkes and a “nice brisket” that is “kosher, of course.” Dessert comes in the shape of chocolate gelt that is “so sweet and so tasty, / in her mouth it did melt.” Along with eating all the requisite food (Ashkenazic style), the family lights the candles on the menorah, spins the dreidel, and exchanges gifts. The long, repetitive text invites participation. The family presents as White, and colorful illustrations convey a busy home and cheerful folk. With the exception of one scene of the miracle in the Temple and a set of elderly visitors, human characters, both male- and female-presenting, all seem to wear kippot. However, aside from this and the rabbi’s feminine pronouns, the book does not meaningfully question gender norms: The rabbi’s male-presenting partner helps with none of the cooking. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.875-by-21.25-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Hanukkah happiness for the very young. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-7607-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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In the end too much is left unanswered, making this book pleasant but only passable

PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE

A mouse searches for and finally finds her missing Seder plate.

Pippa is an industrious house-cleaning mouse. And no wonder—Passover is starting this very evening. Dusting and sweeping finished, she turns her attention to setting the table as a pot of chicken stew bubbles away on the stovetop. But there is one very important object that is missing: the “special Seder plate.” Frantically, the mouse searches through boxes and cupboards and finally ventures into the yard. First she encounters a very large cat and asks if it has seen the plate. “No,” answers the cat and points her to a snake, who sends her to an owl, who directs her to Golda Fish, prettily swimming in the water. Success! Kirkfield’s little tale is written in rhyming couplets with much repetition of “QUIVER! QUAVER! SHIVER! SHAKE!” for emphasis with each interaction with a predator, so readers will be mightily puzzled when the formerly frightful critters join Pippa at the holiday table. Weber’s gouache, crayon, and collage illustrations are sweetly pretty. The final illustration features a Seder plate with transliterated Hebrew and an English translation of the components. Readers familiar with the holiday may find this mildly enjoyable, but others will likely want and need more information.

In the end too much is left unanswered, making this book pleasant but only passable . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4162-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Charming Easter fun.

PETER EASTER FROG

You may know the Easter Bunny, but get ready to meet Peter Easter Frog!

Peter loves Easter, and he’s not going to let the fact that he’s a frog and not a bunny stop him, especially when he’s so good at hopping! He looks absolutely delighted to be hopping around delivering Easter eggs. As he hops along, so does a repeated refrain, which always begins with two words ending with “-ity” coupled with “Easter’s on its—” (“Squishity, squashity, Easter’s on its—”; “Yippity, yappity, Easter’s on its—”); each page turn playfully upends the expected conclusion of the line. Karas’ cheery art portrays a growing array of animals: a turtle decked out in lipstick and a spiffy Easter bonnet, a cow with flower choker necklace, and a sheepdog and a chipmunk sans finery. As Peter gives out colorful, patterned Easter eggs to the other animals, they are, at first, shocked to see an Easter frog but soon join him in his charitable mission to spread Easter cheer. The moment when the cow responds to the dog’s challenge that she is not a cow-bunny by pointing out its own breed as a “sheepdog” may elicit laughs, especially from adult readers. When the group finally meets the real Easter Bunny—hilariously, at the end of a dark tunnel—it seems that things may go awry, but all ends hoppily, happily, and inclusively. The text does not use dialogue tags, instead setting narration and dialogue in separate, distinctive typefaces; unfortunately, this design is not consistently applied, which may confuse readers. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 26.8% of actual size.)

Charming Easter fun. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6489-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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