RAISINS AND ALMONDS by Susan Tarcov

RAISINS AND ALMONDS

A Yiddish Lullaby
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Tarcov sets a traditional Eastern European Yiddish folk song in the present day, employing childlike syntax and dialogue to convey the special luxury of a treat of raisins and almonds.

A noise awakens young Bella, sending her running to Mama in fear. Mama reassures her that it’s only a little white goat that keeps a store under her bed. Bella imagines amazing delights that could be on offer, but Mama says she must see it for herself. So she tentatively sets out on the journey back to her room. She is soon joined by some magical creatures that have wishes of their own. Among other items, a mouse asks if the goat will have a miniature mezuzah for its door. A rabbit wants a kippa with holes for his ears, and a wolf wonders if he could have pickled herring or a pastrami sandwich. When they arrive at Bella’s room, the white goat is standing under her bed selling raisins and almonds. Sánchez’s colorful double-page–spread illustrations are fanciful and whimsical, playing up the magical elements. It is never stated that Bella’s family (all light-skinned) is Jewish, but references to Jewish items and food are essential to the story and illustrations. Targeting young Jewish readers, the author assumes they will understand the meanings of the kippa and the mezuzah and perhaps know the original song.

Delightful and delicious. (author’s note, lyrics, QR code link to song) (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5415-2161-2
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Kar-Ben
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2019




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