An attractive, different take on a holiday tale.


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)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68115-518-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Fans of this popular series will find this a rewarding addition to family Easter celebrations.


From the God Gave Us You series

Bergren and Bryant attempt to explain Easter to young children in a gentle, nonthreatening manner, with partial success.

When Little Cub questions her father about Easter, Papa Bear explains the religious significance of the holiday in various symbolic ways to his cub. He uses familiar things from their world, such as an egg and a fallen tree, to draw parallels with aspects of the Christian story. Papa Bear discusses his close relationships with Jesus and God, encouraging Little Cub to communicate with God on her own. The theme focuses on the renewal of life and the positive aspects of loving God and Jesus. Easter is presented as a celebration of eternal life, but the story skirts the issue of the crucifixion entirely. Some adults will find this an inadequate or even dishonest approach to the Easter story, but others will appreciate the calm and soothing text as a way to begin to understand a difficult subject. Bryant’s charming watercolor illustrations of the polar bear family, their cozy home and snowy forest scenes add to the overall mellow effect.

Fans of this popular series will find this a rewarding addition to family Easter celebrations. (Religion/picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-73072-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 12, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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