A SWEET PASSOVER

A week of eating matzah has one little girl ready to swear off the bland, unleavened cracker for good, until a sweet, time-honored staple slowly changes her mind.

Miriam observes Passover with parents, grandparents, aunt and uncle each consecutive day with different foods added to her matzah. She happily eats her unleavened bread with butter, jelly, tuna salad, egg salad, cream cheese, cottage cheese, almond and apple butter and jam. But after eating plain matzah, egg matzah, whole-wheat matzah and chocolate-covered matzah, Miriam awakens on the eighth day of the holiday completely “sick, sick, sick of matzah” and refuses to eat another bite. Perplexed and amused, Grandpa entices Miriam with the prospect of a breakfast of Passover French toast, otherwise known as matzah brei, a pancake-type creation from pieces of matzah soaked in egg and milk, pan-fried in butter and topped with sugar, cinnamon or maple syrup. Large amiable cartoon characters drawn in acrylic and charcoal portray a loving and cheerful family. They recount the Passover saga through Newman’s dialogue-driven text, into which she subtly weaves some interpretive messages for today. “Matzah goes with everything,” says Grandpa. “And that reminds us that we should get along with everyone, too.” Convinced Miriam completes the holiday with the sweetened meal she cooked with her culinary savvy Grandpa.

Deliciously traditional. (recipe, author’s note) (Picture book/religion. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8109-9737-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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A sweet reminder to pause and ponder life’s everyday wonders.

TISHA AND THE BLOSSOMS

A young girl models mindfulness as she savors each moment.

This charming and vibrant picture book opens in Tisha’s backyard, where she is reaching skyward as falling blossoms float toward her. Her joy and anticipation are disrupted by a series of “hurry up” commands from those around her, who prod her to rush for the school bus, attend an assembly, and make sure that she doesn’t miss lunch. The externally imposed directions conflict with Tisha’s natural curiosity, which compels her not only to “listen to the sounds” and to count the spots on a ladybug she finds during recess, but also to create connections between a book she finds about space and the space shuttle she imagines but cannot finish drawing because “it’s time to put the crayons away.” When Tisha requests “a little slowdown,” she and Mommy decide to walk home and play “How Many?” along the way; they also snuggle on a park bench and name all the pigeons. What began as a harried day ends on an idyllic note with a family picnic under flowering trees; when the wind blows, Tisha can catch a blossom at last. Artful and striking illustrations produce a multitude of visual textures that delineate individual blooms, sketch Tisha’s neighborhood, render colorful yet subtle details of characters and clothing, and deliver painterly impressions. Tisha and her family are tan-skinned with dark hair; her classmates are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sweet reminder to pause and ponder life’s everyday wonders. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 17, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-2198-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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