THE STORY OF SHABBAT

This republication of a 1966 text with new illustrations explains the Jewish Sabbath. Giving context to today's Shabbat customs, Cone (Come Back, Salmon, 1992, etc.) recalls the story of Moses leading the Jews out of slavery and receiving the Ten Commandments. The fourth commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy,” refers to keeping a day of rest. She describes the traditional customs of lighting candles, studying the Torah, and enjoying a festive family meal as ways of marking the day. Two stories that illustrate the feeling of the Sabbath, instructions for crafts, and a recipe for Challah, the traditional braided bread, complete the text. Lisker’s (When the Beginning Began, 1999, etc.) acrylic-on-canvas, stylized illustrations are boldly colored and work best when depicting ancient times. Many of the modern families look strained and detached. People are frequently shown looking out of the corners of their eyes, which gives them a strange appearance. One black family is shown at their Shabbat table. They may be Ethiopian or American Black Jews, but the reader is given no hint of their background in the text. Since there are no other illustrations in which a dark-skinned person appears, the reader is left to ponder why the illustrator chose to be inclusive here. None of the illustrations depict modern Jewish boys and men who do not cover their heads with skullcaps or the ultra orthodox who wear black and do not shave their beards or cut their forelocks. A lyrical, sensitive text is not served well by its new illustrations. (Nonfiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 30, 2000

ISBN: 0-06-027944-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2000

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ONE CANDLE

This Hanukkah story about a family’s ritual reenactment of Grandma and great-aunt Rose’s Hanukkah spent at Buchenwald many years ago during the “bad time” propounds a disturbing view of the Holocaust. Grandma and great-aunt Rose demonstrate to the family how they hollowed out a potato stolen from the kitchen at the camp, filled it with a dab of stolen margarine, made a wick from a piece of thread, and lit a candle to commemorate the holiday. Popp’s (Sister Anne’s Hands, 1998) realistic drawings of the celebration are soft and subtly colored, reflecting the family’s warmth and closeness, while the drawings of the camp are ghostly in sepia tones. Afterwards the whole family steps outside to look at the Hanukkah lights through the window and drink a toast to life. The disturbing piece is Grandpa’s comment that “The Germans didn’t like a lot of people. It wasn’t only the Jews.” For many, this is a deeply offensive statement, implying as it does that the Jews were not singled out by Hitler and the Germans for the very specific goal of total destruction. Even in the context of human history, the single-mindedness, efficiency, and technological resources put to the task make Hitler’s war against the Jews exceptional. Grandpa’s comment would be problematic in any event, but out of the mouth of the husband of a Holocaust survivor it is troubling indeed. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-060-28115-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2002

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AN ELF FOR CHRISTMAS

The text in Garland’s book has little merit, and appears mostly as an excuse for the digital artwork. The night before Christmas, Tingle, a diligent elf in Santa’s workshop, falls asleep in the cockpit of a toy plane he has been working on. When the plane is wrapped, so is he, and the package is tucked into Santa’s sleigh and delivered to Joey for Christmas. Tingle gets homesick, flies the plane homeward, runs out of power, and hitches a ride with a polar bear. Garland makes no effort to endow his principals with any personality or presence; the artwork suffers from a grating juxtaposition of hyperrealism and smoky, blurred imagery. The proportions and depths of field are discomfittingly exaggerated, except for a scene in which the northern lights are on display above Santa’s workshop—there the otherworldliness perfectly matches the event. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-525-46212-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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