A little girl’s misunderstanding, the harvesting of some root vegetables and a recipe for stew merge for an amusing Jewish New Year story.
Talia, a city girl, is visiting her grandmother, who tells her to “bring back seven root vegetables” from the garden. Hearing “rude” for “root,” the confused child ponders over this while she proceeds to find her perception of rude veggies in an ornery onion, a garish garlic, a crooked carrot, a terrible turnip, lumpy bumpy potatoes, big ugly parsnips and “rude-abagas…definitely rude.” Pleased with how well she has satisfied Grandma’s request, Talia decides to donate the other perfectly nice vegetables to the Rabbi as a mitzvah for a poor family. The narrative, with its recurring theme of “what Grandma wants,” is matched well to Assirelli’s illustrations. Their terra-cotta and earthy hues combine with deep purple and olive-green tones for kitchen and backyard scenes. Talia’s round face is drawn with thin lines detailing expressions of surprise, pleasure and the exertion of digging and pulling. Marshall incorporates many new words to extend the term “rude” while at the same time allowing youngsters, who will soon realize Talia’s mix-up, to learn the names of the various root vegetables.A charming fall story loosely structured by Judaic concepts. (recipe) (Picture book. 4-6)