A poetic chronicle of Jewish holidays all year-round, with lots to learn and enjoy.

This collection of poetry follows one family as they decide to celebrate every Jewish holiday for the entire year.

Some of the forthcoming holidays are well known to the family and observed with long-standing traditions, while others are somewhat new to them. Each holiday, beginning with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, is presented with a poem and an illustration depicting an aspect of the observance and the accoutrements that accompany the activities. The poems are narrated by one of the children in the family and detail each holiday’s traditions, how they play out, and the child’s own experiences (on Yom Kippur, “No cake, no honey / and for me, / no soccer, no TV”). The poet often mentions how “where my cousins live,” some of the holidays are observed differently. On Israeli Independence Day, the family sends the cousins photos with the Israeli flag; last Fourth of July, the cousins sent a similar message with an American flag. For each poem, readers will also find detailed explanations about the holiday, including history, references to the Torah, and definitions. The tone for each holiday is appropriate for the degree of festivity or seriousness. Tisha B’Av recalls the destruction of the Temples in ancient Jerusalem, and Yom Ha Shoah is Holocaust Remembrance Day; the accompanying poem speaks of sadness and lives lost but with a hope for mending and rebuilding. The poems for Purim and Simchas Torah exude joy. The family is light-skinned and dark-haired; their community is a diverse one. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A poetic chronicle of Jewish holidays all year-round, with lots to learn and enjoy. (note about the Jewish calendar, web resources) (Informational picture book/poetry. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-32469-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022


A Christmas cozy, read straight or bit by bit through the season.

Neither snow nor rain nor mountains of yummy cheese stay the carrier of a letter to Santa.

So carelessly does 8-year-old Oliver stuff his very late letter to Santa into the mailbox that it falls out behind his back—leaving Winston, a “small, grubby white mouse” with an outsized heart, determined to deliver it personally though he has no idea where to go. Smith presents Winston’s Christmas Eve trek in 24 minichapters, each assigned a December “day” and all closing with both twists or cliffhangers and instructions (mostly verbal, unfortunately) for one or more holiday-themed recipes or craft projects. Though he veers occasionally into preciosity (Winston “tried to ignore the grumbling, rumbling noises coming from his tummy”), he also infuses his holiday tale with worthy values. Occasional snowy scenes have an Edwardian look appropriate to the general tone, with a white default in place but a few dark-skinned figures in view. Less-crafty children will struggle with the scantly illustrated projects, which run from paper snowflakes to clothespin dolls and Christmas crackers with or without “snaps,” but lyrics to chestnuts like “The 12 Days of Christmas” (and “Jingle Bells,” which is not a Christmas song, but never mind) at the end invite everyone to sing along.

A Christmas cozy, read straight or bit by bit through the season. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-983-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019


From the Fox & Rabbit series , Vol. 3

Hooray, hooray for this par-tay.

Five more stories featuring buddy pair Fox and Rabbit.

Following the formula of its predecessors, this third installment of the Fox & Rabbit series focuses on Sparrow’s “super-trooper special” birthday. A slightly unrelated opening story introduces a variety of animal characters as Fox—proudly adopting the moniker “Fix-it Fox”—goes around trying to solve everyone’s “enormous problems.” In the next story, Fox and Rabbit scheme to make the “biggest, roundest, yummiest pizza in the world.” They pilfer ingredients from Sparrow’s garden (a nod to the first book) and ask Mouse for mozzarella. Subsequent stories—each contained in a chapter—involve a pizza-cooking dragon, the “really awesome” party, and a birthday wish that finally comes true. Dudás’ full-color cartoon illustrations complement Ferry’s chipper tone and punny dialogue for an upbeat woodland romp. Even the turtle, who always comically arrives at the end of the chapter and misses most of the action, gets to enjoy the party. Another standout scene, in which Fox assumes Dragon doesn’t speak their language and speaks “Dragonian” unprompted, gently addresses microaggressions. Though all dialogue is clearly linked to each speaker, some scenes with lots of back and forth within a single panel gear this to comics readers with a bit of experience. Still, the eight-panel–per-page max and short chapters keep the text accessible and pace quick.

Hooray, hooray for this par-tay. (Graphic early reader. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5183-7

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Feb. 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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