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Silly predicaments, strong rhyming verse, amusing illustrations, and a kid’s victory—a pleasing Shabbos tale.

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In this picture book, no one can open a grandmother’s jar of gefilte fish until a boy finds a solution.

It’s Shabbos, and Jack’s grandmother Judy, called Bubbe, is making her grandson’s favorite gefilte fish—but first, she has to get the lid off the jar. And that proves just about impossible. Bubbe and Zayde, Jack’s grandfather, try the usual methods with no success, then get friends, relations, and locals to employ their special skills: a bodybuilding neighbor, a mechanic, a doctor (who diagnoses “a dreadful case of / Liddy-stuck-a-tosis!”), and more. Zayde proposes getting a new jar, but the store is closed. Luckily, Jack has an idea: use a magic word. He speaks politely to the jar, the lid opens, and Shabbos dinner is saved. The husband-and-wife team of Allison Marks and Wayne Marks (Og's Ark, 2016) tells a humorous story with rhyming quatrains that scan well: “They lugged it to their auto shop / And schmeared it well with sludge. / But even with a monkey wrench / That lid refused to budge.” A useful glossary, pronunciation guide, recipe for gefilte mini-muffins, and Shabbos song are included. Andriani's (Rome Romp!, 2016, etc.) images are a delight, depicting the tale’s comic misadventures with attractive, mostly soft colors. The pictures have energy and a wealth of witty details, including a fisherman’s piscine-themed decorations and the actions of the family pets, who try to help.

Silly predicaments, strong rhyming verse, amusing illustrations, and a kid’s victory—a pleasing Shabbos tale.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9908430-0-9

Page Count: 49

Publisher: MB Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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From the Who's in Your Book? series

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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