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THE FRIDAY NIGHTS OF NANA by Amy Hest

THE FRIDAY NIGHTS OF NANA

By Amy Hest (Author) , Claire A. Nivola (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7636-0658-8
Publisher: Candlewick

A warm and tender depiction of preparations for the Jewish Sabbath by a girl and her grandmother. “Today I have no school!” Jennie exults, and begins the day in Nana’s kitchen eating bread and jam (peach, their favorite). But there is work to be done: the china washed and the tablecloth ironed; challah and pie to bake; flowers to purchase (violet-colored, their favorite). The day darkens, the snow comes up, Nana and Jennie dress in their blue Sabbath dresses, and the whole family arrives—shedding boots and scarves—aunts, uncles, cousins, and the girl’s parents and her baby brother. The “best time” comes when Nana and Jennie light the candles and Nana whispers the Sabbath prayer. Watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations are done in an almost folk-art style, with wonderful stippled patterns in fabric, rugs, and tableware. Touches of deep blue appear in everything from flowers and fruit to dishes and clothing. Nana’s house has wood floors and interesting carpets, lovely pictures on the walls (echoing well-known artists), books on the shelves, and a palpable air of comfort and grace. Children will be seduced by the rhythm of preparation and ritual, and the reassurance of bread and soup and everyone talking “at the same time.” (Picture book. 4-8)