Kayla sets the table for Shabbat while she manages to avert numerous mishaps caused by her overeager assistant, the mischievous puppy Kugel.
Kayla patiently allows Kugel to “help” by pulling on the tablecloth, grabbing the Kiddush cup, and balancing the salt shaker on his nose while she succinctly narrates all the steps to setting a proper Shabbat table. The easy interplay of pictures and text allows children to read the illustrations for some of the unsaid details that telegraph Kugel’s next possible calamity. They will be amused by the proximity of disaster for each of his little upsets, such as dirtying the table with his paw prints or trying to eat the flowers. When finished, Kugel’s sadness helps Kayla realize that they are not ready for a “Shabbat Shalom” until the whole family gathers around the table. Cheerfully amusing, brightly colored illustrations depict the rambunctiousness of an adorable and endearing young puppy. Beyond the plot, the larger message of the importance of family to the weekly celebration is effectively presented to the toddler set.
This upbeat explication should prove both entertaining and instructive. (Picture book/religion. 2-4)