As in the story of the little red hen, Little Red Rosie, a Jewish white girl, is baking bread, but she is baking festive challah.
In the folk tale, the hen gets no help and must do everything herself. In this lively picture book, Rosie’s stuffed animals come to life, and Toucan, Parrot, and Hornbill (and a yellow bird that observes) help make the loaves, both the usual braided type and the round challah, symbolic of the cycle of life and God’s crown and made specifically for the high holidays. No adults help, but Kimmel writes in his afterword that Rosie “practices being the capable one—the parent—with her bird friends.” Rosie’s repetitive questions, as in “Who will help me knead the dough?” and the frequent, eager “I will” responses of the main avian characters will help young readers join in. Watercolor paintings set in a modern kitchen detail the mess and emphasize the story’s fun. The three birds are pictured sitting on the (covered) rising dough “like it was an egg in a nest.” The shaping of the dough into challah is quite amusing. Luckily, the loaves are ready for the neighborhood holiday dinner, a multiethnic affair. Readers wishing for educational extras will need to look elsewhere for a description of the holiday and the festive foods pictured (pomegranate, apple, and honey), a Hebrew transliteration of the English prayer, and a challah recipe.
An attractive, different take on a holiday tale. (Picture book. 3-7)