While the amusing scenario may prove to be more a nostalgia trip for adult readers than something today’s kids will...

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OY FEH SO?

Weekly Sunday visits from their two aunts and one uncle are so disagreeable that three children take steps to alter the atmosphere through some harmlessly exaggerated imitation.

Each Sunday afternoon the family guests arrive, heavily plop themselves on the living room furniture, and make negative, complaining and resigned statements. “Oy,” says Aunt Essy. “Feh,” says Aunt Chanah. “So?” says Uncle Sam. “That was all they ever said!” Despite the children’s parents’ attempts to make pleasant conversation or the children’s enthusiastic play-acting performed for the guests, the reaction is always the same uncongenial three words. Ink-and-watercolor illustrations depict Essy, Chanah and Sam with unflattering caricatures of stereotypical adult Jewish characters, with clownishly large noses, slouchy, overweight bodies and unsmiling faces. In exasperation, the children each take a role and comically mimic their aunts’ and uncle’s behavior, forcing laughter and recognition. This mishpocheh now redeems itself with a newfound willingness to tell family stories and loving childhood memories; the palette here modulates from muted tones to bright, sunny colors.

While the amusing scenario may prove to be more a nostalgia trip for adult readers than something today’s kids will immediately recognize, they will appreciate the overall sentiment even if they miss the Yiddish essence. Nu? (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55498-148-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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HUNGRY! HUNGRY! HUNGRY!

In this moderately effective "jump" story, a lad anxiously questions a distracted-looking, green-skinned goblin as he watches it ransack his house: " 'Why have you got such a big fat bum?' 'Squishing things and squashing things . . .' 'Why have you got such a grumbly tum?' 'Hungry! Hungry! Hungry!' ” The arced lines of text are printed in dialogue balloons, and Hess views the domestic destruction from canted or rolling perspectives in which food, garbage, shampoo, and small toys fly as the goblin shambles along in a cloud of spattered paint or ink. At last the interloper winds up in the lad's bedroom: " ‘What have you come for?' 'YOU!' ” But, as lifting the concluding gatefold reveals, the goblin will accept a jelly bean instead. "A Dark, Dark Room" it's not, but read aloud with the proper gusto it should elicit a few belly laughs, as well as a mild climactic jolt, and the art is unusually fascinating. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-56145-214-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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A pleasantly satisfying modern addition to the collection.

SHABBAT HICCUPS

Jonah’s incessant hiccupping during the weekly Shabbat observance prompts members of his family to suggest a solution.

Through the early-evening preparations, the candle lighting, blessings, and dinner, Jonah unsuccessfully tries to ignore or control his hiccups. Cousin Eden attempts to scare them away, and Grandma Sue suggests eating some sugar. Grandma Sue then offers a better remedy: to drink a glass of water all in one gulp. This does the trick—until the next evening, after the concluding Havdalah ceremony, when not only does Jonah have a hiccupping setback, but Grandma Sue also seems to need to follow her own advice. The story’s arc nicely folds in all the elements and practice of the weekly Shabbat celebration while maintaining a slightly understated air of amusing angst. In addition, the inclusion of the traditional Havdalah at sundown to bring the daylong observance to an end is effortlessly described, creating a complete picture for the weekly ritual. Animated faces in gouache and crayon depict a youthful family, including a contemporary grandmother with highlighted auburn hair. Jonah and his dad have pale skin and light-brown hair, while his mom and little sister have olive skin and black hair.

A pleasantly satisfying modern addition to the collection. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-7312-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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