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This modern-day Jewish tall tale makes for an unconventional, fun Shabbat read-aloud.

Matzoh balls go flying across the kitchen when the soup pot boils over, propelling Bubbe and her beloved dog, Bart, into a game of chase and catch.

Shabbat will soon be here, and Bubbe is preparing for the celebratory meal with her family. But as the traditional soup burbles on the stovetop, she suddenly hears “a weird K-KNOCK” and realizes the pot is boiling over—and her matzoh balls are jumping out of the bubbling soup. Bart is ready to help by fetching, catching, and eating the first few. Chaos overtakes the kitchen, but together Bubbe and Bart retrieve as many escaped matzoh balls as possible, using everything from a baseball mitt to an umbrella, even performing as stage magicians “Bubbe and the Great Bartini.” The soup settles down to a simmer, and the cleaning and sprucing up commence before Bubbe and Bart welcome the family at their Shabbat table. Children can count the matzoh balls from one to seven (seven, for the seventh day of rest) careening around the room and finally back in the pot. The silliness—a little reminiscent of Strega Nona’s pasta pot—is recounted in a rhyming text; though not consistently set in verse form, it scans and reads aloud well. Active cartoon illustrations of a rambunctious pooch and a hip grandmother in jeans and Converse high-tops add to the pandemonium. Bubbe presents White, as does most of her family, though two members present East Asian.

This modern-day Jewish tall tale makes for an unconventional, fun Shabbat read-aloud. (author’s note, glossary) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-951365-08-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Intergalactic Afikoman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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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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