Young children will enjoy this very basic introduction to a Jewish holiday celebration.

AROUND THE PASSOVER TABLE

It’s a festive Passover Seder for two families.

“With fresh springtime flowers and once-a-year dishes, / Two candles stand straight / See our grand seder plate / At our table for this seder night.” A white father, black mother, and their two children join an all-white multigenerational family for the spring Jewish festival of Passover. The narrator, the young son of the hosting family, describes the cushions on the chairs, the wine/grape-juice glasses, the special foods, the water for washing hands and the water for dipping greens, the afikomen for hiding, and Elijah’s and Miriam’s cups for two very special guests. All this is related with the cheerful refrain: “At our table for this seder night.” Those who observe and those who are unfamiliar with the many steps of the Seder will enjoy the details tailored to a young audience—the family pets join in as the celebrants sing “Dayenu,” among other side business. Readers hoping for more background information on Elijah’s and Miriam’s cups will be disappointed, however. The digital illustrations are lively and spirited, featuring many smiling faces and kippot on the men and boys.

Young children will enjoy this very basic introduction to a Jewish holiday celebration. (author’s note, glossary) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-0446-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A feast…at least for the eyes, and much better for the teeth.

BAKE A RAINBOW CAKE!

It’s all about the colors in this board-book version of the virally popular “rainbow explosion” cake.

The cake, which stars in many online videos and slide shows, is actually all about the sprinkles, evoked here with a combination of multihued spinners or sliders and hundreds of tiny holes punched into the sturdy cover and stock. Kassem, a New York City specialist baker, recaps its creation…without specific ingredients but step by step in the simplest language: “Pour it! / Mix it! // Color it!” The images are abstract enough that the result never really looks like food, but young digerati are unlikely to care as they’re directed to choose colors for each of the six layers, pull a tab to watch them rise in the oven, then see all but the top layer hollowed out before being stacked in rainbow order (sans indigo) and finally filled with a column of sprinkles that will pour out in a climactic rush (“Surprise!”) when the finished cake, its outside likewise sprinkle encrusted, is sliced. Chavarri’s simple illustrations flash with oversaturated hues, each succeeding double-page spread being somehow brighter than the last one, until the final uncomplicated pop-up unfolds in a grand shower of confetti and sprinkles. Budding chefs may find the recipe-based approach in Lotta Niemenen’s Cook in a Book series more to their taste, but for sheer energy and dazzle, this is hard to beat.

A feast…at least for the eyes, and much better for the teeth. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3746-6

Page Count: 10

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Interesting animal facts and beautiful photographs, but despite the title, best suited to preschoolers (who will love it).

A BABY LIKE YOU

Animal babies are compared with human babies through selected facts and full-page photos.

Sibert Medalist Thimmesh (Team Moon, 2006) explores the similarities and differences in how human and animal babies do things like eat, walk, learn, and play. On each two-page spread, the narrative portion is set in large, bold type while below it in a smaller font is a specific fact relating to the featured baby. Because the narrative portions run across several page turns, the informational pieces—which serve as asides—disrupt the flow. This issue is mitigated a bit by Thimmesh’s use of the same refrain to begin each new topic: “Each new day, in different ways, a baby like you” signals readers to resume the pace. The informational asides about animals are concise and high interest, and while the human facts will be familiar to adult readers, younger readers are likely to learn something new. The photography is gorgeous, with fuzzy, adorable animal babies and diverse, equally cute human ones. Though this book is addressed to a baby, they are not the appropriate audience. This one is best read to preschoolers who can appreciate the book’s length and details. The phrase “a baby like you” may be a misfit, but the past-tense descriptions of things babies do (like learning to walk) make sense for older readers.

Interesting animal facts and beautiful photographs, but despite the title, best suited to preschoolers (who will love it). (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-55312-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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