An Israeli farmer’s menagerie proves to be both a hindrance and an asset when making the perfect romantic match.
When Farmer Kobi invites Polly for a date on the second night of Hanukkah, Donkey and the geese, goats, and sheep help him prepare. They put out the candles, dreidel, and gelt, suggest his outfit, and are right behind him when he answers the door. Kobi leaves Polly in the living room with his “family” while he finishes up in the kitchen with his Israeli-style Hanukkah menu of baba ghanouj, falafel, latkes with applesauce and sour cream, and limonana. But snooty Polly can’t bear the animals’ indoor presence and finally leaves in a huff. “If I wanted to be with animals, I’d go to the zoo!” Ink-and-watercolor illustrations capture the friendly sincerity of Kobi and his animals, while dialogue infused with animal sounds adds to the drollery. “ ‘She was definitely NOT Farmer Kobi’s perfect maaatch,’ maaed the goats….‘she was a faaake,’ baaed the sheep.” And when Ruthie knocks on the door a few minutes later, needing help with a flat tire, Kobi’s hospitality as supported by his exuberant animal family is definitely appreciated—and perfectly matched by Ruthie’s own farm animals, who wait in her truck. A short illustrated glossary and a suggested discussion guide on Jewish values of “Compassion for Animals” and “Welcoming Guests” round out this romp.
Though Hanukkah takes something of a back seat, this funny, friendly tale is a worthy addition to the holiday shelves. (Picture book. 3-6)