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THE SCHLEMIEL KIDS SAVE THE MOON

From the Schlemiel Kids of Chelm series

An enjoyable, rollicking read. Fun by the light of the moon—or anytime.

Siblings outshine not-too-bright grown-ups in this take on Yiddish folklore.

Sam and Sarah Schlemiel are walking along the beach with their parents when Dad notices that the moon has fallen into the water. Neighbors are alarmed: The moon’s stuck! How will they see at night? The siblings try explaining, but no one listens. After all, this is Chelm, where adults aren’t famed for their smarts. A neighbor volunteers to pull the moon from the lake; another attempts to scoop the moon into her bucket; both are unsuccessful. At the wise rabbi’s house, everyone offers preposterous solutions and prays. Sarah whispers her own idea to Sam. Next morning, a tearful Sarah tells the rabbi that she and Sam want to see the moon before the townspeople set it free, but they can’t visit the beach alone. So the rabbi escorts them to the beach—and is shocked to realize the moon is gone! He concludes the prayers “lifted” it into the sky! Everyone marvels at his wisdom—everyone except the two smart children. Readers will relish this comically fresh, fast-paced tale. An author’s note explains that stories of Chelm and its hilariously ignorant residents have been passed down for years (though this tale is set in the present). Colorful illustrations enliven the humorous proceedings. Sam and Mom are brown-skinned, while Sarah and Dad are lighter-skinned; townsfolk are racially diverse. Most males wear skullcaps or head coverings.

An enjoyable, rollicking read. Fun by the light of the moon—or anytime. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781685556037

Page Count: 32

Publisher: The Collective Book Studio

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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SALAT IN SECRET

An empowering and important tale of bravery.

A Black Muslim boy must summon the courage to ask for a place at school to pray.

It’s Muhammad’s seventh birthday, and Daddy has a special gift for him: a prayer rug that’s royal blue with gold stitching and that smells of incense. Muhammad is now old enough to independently offer the five Muslim daily prayers, or salat. He packs the rug before school the next day and plans to find a private place for salat. But asking his teacher for help feels harder than anticipated—especially after seeing mean passersby jeer at his father, who prays in the open while working as an ice cream truck driver. To claim a space, Muhammad will need to be brave, just like his joyful, hardworking Daddy. Once again, Thompkins-Bigelow (Mommy’s Khimar, 2018) has written a beautiful, positive, and welcome portrayal of Black Muslim families. Her melodic writing captures Muhammad’s feelings as he works to find his voice and advocate for his needs. Aly’s playful, energetic illustrations offer a nod to Islamic art traditions and work in tandem with the text to give readers a glimpse into Muhammad’s hopes, fears, and growth. An author’s note explains what salat is, the times and names of the prayers, how it is performed, and other relevant terms used within the text. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An empowering and important tale of bravery. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 6, 2023

ISBN: 9781984848093

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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BAXTER, THE PIG WHO WANTED TO BE KOSHER

The title says it all: When Baxter hears about Shabbat, when “the candles gleam and glow and dance while our sweetest voices lift in song,” from an old man at the bus stop, of course he wants to be part of it—but how? The young man he meets the next week tells him he can’t: “You’re not kosher!” In pursuit of kosher, Baxter eats kosher dills, pigs out on challah and teaches himself to moo. Finally a kindly rabbi leads him to the truth: “But,” she asks, “why would you want to get eaten?” She goes on, however, to explain that “[i]t is a mitzvah to welcome a stranger,” so Baxter gets to enjoy Shabbat after all. Goldin’s photo-collage illustrations present a suitably goofy-but-sincere cartoon pig dressed in a plaid button-down Oxford shirt and locate him in an urban neighborhood that features an imposing synagogue and a kosher deli. While Snyder's glossary glides a little irresponsibly over the precise meaning of "kosher," this will nevertheless find plenty of use in Jewish homes, particularly among families in which one parent is not Jewish. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-58246-315-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2010

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