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From the Kayla and Kugel series

A good basic introduction for the youngest attendees.

Kayla welcomes young readers into her home for a typical Passover Seder while contending with the antics of her frisky puppy, Kugel.

Kayla is busy getting ready for the dinner and briefly points out some of the key aspects of the holiday, while Kugel’s eagerness to participate has him almost spilling the grape juice, making a mess with the matzah, and stealing the afikomen as soon as Kayla finds it hidden under an easy chair. After the four questions are asked, the story told, and the special foods eaten, a somber-looking Kugel makes sure to remind Kayla that the Seder is not complete without the best part, the concluding songs. As in the introductory Kayla and Kugel (2015), which highlighted Shabbat, it is the family pet that provides both comic relief and a way to keep the central theme on track. Sweet, endearing, colorful illustrations bring out the humor in the actions of the puppy, who is clearly loved as an equal member of his young family. A simple glossary and author’s note with suggestions for simple discussion and some downloadable activities are included.

A good basic introduction for the youngest attendees. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68115-508-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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Though it’s fairly unoriginal at its core, this story’s charismatic star will have appeal in dog-loving households.

A rescued dog chosen as a Hanukkah present at an animal shelter relates his good luck as he learns to adapt to his new family and home.

Zoe and Zach welcome their new pet, a playful, medium-sized, golden-brown dog, and name him Latke (he’s exactly the color of one). The newest member of the family assumes all the celebratory aspects of the eight-day Hanukkah holiday are just for him and innocently creates a mild disturbance on each night. Latke eats the sufganiyot and latkes, rips open presents, chews up the dreidels and candles, slobbers all over the chocolate gelt and knocks the bowl of applesauce over. With each mishap, Zoe and Zach find a way to forgive, letting the curious new dog know he is very fortunate indeed. Ever remorseful, Latke finally accepts his own gift of a chew toy and understands he is one lucky dog to be part of a great family. Latke relates his own story, folding his innocent misdeeds into the basic structure of the eight nights of remembrance. Simple, childlike gouache scenes favor the star of the story, a sweet and personable mutt sporting floppy black ears against a brown happy face. He has rather more personality than the overall presentation, which cannot shed its inherent didacticism.

Though it’s fairly unoriginal at its core, this story’s charismatic star will have appeal in dog-loving households. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7613-9038-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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

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. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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