A close-knit Jewish family’s preparations for Shabbat are set to a hip-hop beat in this attractive board book.
Each lively four-line verse is sung by a smiling boy sporting a backwards baseball cap. His gray-haired Bubbe, wearing a sunny yellow apron, dances along waving a spoon. Of course, once seated at the Shabbat table, the young protagonist’s head is respectfully covered by a white kippah. His rhymes trip off the tongue with ease. The first and last verses bookend the story, ending, respectively, “She’s got the beat” and “I’ve got the beat.” The digitally enhanced illustrations rendered in pen and ink with watercolor show a rather idealized world. Bubbe’s tree-shaded white clapboard house is tidy and welcoming. As the fifth stanza says, “Cousins by the dozens, / Knockin’ on the door. / Bubbe’s got it covered, / Always room for more.” Readers unfamiliar with Jewish traditions of Shabbat may not understand the details of the story, and words such as challah, kiddush, kugel, and even bubbe are not defined (though young goyim are likely to recognize her as a grandma regardless). Still, the spirit of family togetherness is indisputable.
Affirming for children in Jewish families and useful for non-Jewish families that want to casually instill respect for another religious culture. (Board book. 2-4)