A minor accident temporarily alters a weekly Sunday-morning–breakfast ritual.
On this particular Sunday, Eli begins to worry when his grandfather is unusually late to arrive with the weekly bagels. Then Zaida’s familiar Knock! Knock! at the door with a bag filled with “Warm. / Chewy. / Salty. / Bagels” is replaced with a phone call. Vexed and bagel-less, Zaida tells Eli he has slipped on some “schmutz” at the store and has hurt “his tuches.” The doctor orders rest at home for two weeks, the bagel-shaped pillow he holds out to Zaida visually informing readers who don’t know Yiddish what body part has been hurt. The first week passes with Eli bringing chicken soup, Zaida’s neighboring elderly gents visiting, and everyone lamenting that a Sunday without bagels is just another day. By Saturday night Eli develops a plan, makes a list, and succeeds in surprising Zaida and friends with—what else—bagels. Pleased and proud, Zaida declares Eli is “the Bagel King,” once again restoring the best thing about Sunday—“that is, except for Zaida.” Watercolors in soft hues against ample white space illustrate this gently diverse neighborhood and cast of characters; Eli, Zaida, and the rest of the family are white, but neighbors and the doctor have brown skin. Yiddish words and phrases, translated in a brief glossary before the title page, give flavor to Zaida’s aged Jewish generation.
The endearing portrayal of a young boy’s relationship with his grandfather makes for a warm, intergenerational story. (Picture book. 3-6)