A Jewish family celebrates a baby with traditional symbols and rituals.
The whole family—even the cat—dotes on baby in this board book. Newman’s rhyming text includes Yiddish and Hebrew vocabulary and Jewish traditions: There’s kugel and challah, a mezuzah and a tzedakah box, and, of course, many blessings and much joy. Newman doesn’t spend time defining the various terms for non-Jewish readers, allowing Nakata’s softly textured illustrations to provide some context clues. While the text is certainly very sweet and scans well, the beautiful images are the stars. There are wonderful details: wallpaper adorned with chicks, Zayde’s tortoiseshell glasses, and, delightfully, the cat behaving typically by stuffing itself inside a paper bag. These details bring this family to life. The only point of confusion in the book is that at first, it seems as though the family (all white presenting) is readying the house for a brand-new baby—Bubbe is knitting booties and baking on the first page, for example—but this is no newborn. The baby is shown forward-facing in a baby carrier, sitting up on a lap at the table, and climbing playfully on Zayde. Overall, this book would make a wonderful gift for a Jewish family welcoming a new addition, as it certainly conveys the excitement and joy of having a little one in the house.
A sweet celebration of a baby, full of Jewish tradition. (Board book. 1-3)