This is a collection of Jewish stories that leaves out the stories.
Reading this book feels a lot like listening to a vinyl LP with multiple skips that send listeners abruptly from the middle of one song to the next. Here’s the plot of the first story in the collection: Sam and Charlie shovel their neighbor’s walk. Then they drink hot cocoa. Along the way, they complain about hat hair and accidentally dump snow on each other, but none of these incidents advances the story. In fact, there is no story, just a series of isolated events, like random notes in a recording. Sometimes this leads to a pretty good joke. In one scene, Charlie is following Passover tradition and hunting for a matzo cracker that’s been hidden somewhere in the house. She sits in an armchair to think, and—CRUNCH!—the matzo turns up under the cushion. Much too often, though, the book is genuinely perplexing. Readers may be forgiven for feeling that these scenes could have occurred in any order and made just as much sense. The illustrations are unfailingly gorgeous. Charlie’s hair has more personality than the main characters in other books.
If only the stories were as involving as the pictures around them. (Early reader. 5-8)