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THE SCHMUTZY FAMILY by Madelyn Rosenberg


by Madelyn Rosenberg illustrated by Paul Meisel

Age Range: 3 - 5

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2371-2
Publisher: Holiday House

The Schmutzy family, appropriately named for their carefree exploration of all things messy, cleans up perfectly at the end of each week for a proper Sabbath celebration.

From Sunday until Thursday, Mama and Papa Schmutzy’s brood of five play, create, and discover. They wade in “the malodorous Feldman Swamp” and bring an assortment of flora and fauna back. At home, they decorate their clothes with tomato sauce, enjoy their “blue period” with blueberries, gather earthworms in the vegetable garden and paint additional fruits on their pineapple wallpaper. Through it all, this modern Jewish Mama is unfazed, going about her motherly chores without a “tsk or tut.” But on Friday morning, her Yiddish persona comes out as she exclaims, “Oy! Look at this dirt! You’re FARSHTUNKEN, all of you! And it’s nearly SHABBOS. We can’t bring in the Sabbath smelling like COWS!” And so the clean-up begins, culminating in a wonderfully full Friday-night Shabbos dinner with an extended family of 12, followed by an early-morning Saturday walk to services. A combination of India ink, watercolor, acrylic, pencil and pastel artwork depicts the humorous chaos of a family that balances a live-and-let-live attitude with a weekly ritual and routine.

Delightful and unpretentious in its approach to welcoming the Sabbath. (Picture book. 3-5)