Tear off a chunk of challah instead.




Who knew? It turns out that mischievous green creatures are responsible for challah, that tasty staple of Jewish festivals.

Three green goblins enjoy disrupting the lives of the schoolchildren of Knottingham by messing up their hair. The goblins, named “Knotty, Knotsalot, and Notnow,” live up to their names on a daily basis and think that their actions are quite funny. Not so the children and their parents, who must unmuss the messy mops. Finally, the children, who have such bakery-related last names as Honeydrizzle, Tablespoon, and Goldencrust, concoct a recipe of squishy dough to foil the little green monsters, covering their hair with unbaked dough that traps the goblins. They are so eager to escape they promise "to never again tangle children's hair." And from that day to this, the families of Knottingham bake a “braided sweet bread called challah.” The author’s note pays tribute to the wonderful smell of challah as a sign that Shabbat is close. Unfortunately, there is no recipe nor explanation of why challah is actually such an integral part of the Friday night Shabbat festive meal, depicted in one of the concluding images. Readers unfamiliar with the bread will find this original tale puzzling, and those who imagine baking and eating that hairy dough will find it unappealing. And children will be mystified that anyone would consider this an effective way to keep hair from becoming knotted. The cartoonish illustrations are awash in greens and feature a mostly white cast of children (one child appears to be Asian and another black).

Tear off a chunk of challah instead. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68115-526-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

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This Mother’s Day tale is rather limited in its audience to those who can afford fancy brunch after their own religious...


From the Berenstain Bears series

The Berenstains’ son adds a Mother’s Day entry to the series, continuing the adventures of the Bear family with a religious focus.

Brother, Sister, and Honey want to do something special for Mama for Mother’s Day, and Papa helps them think of just the thing—brunch at the Bear Country Inn after church—and they can invite Grizzly Gran, too. On the ride to church, Mama points out all the ways other families are celebrating their own mothers even though these community helpers are working on the holiday: Officer Marguerite’s children bring her flowers as she directs traffic, and Mrs. Ben’s children are pitching in with farm chores. Indeed, the trip to church is eye-opening for the cubs, who never realized that some of their neighbors even had children. During the church service, Preacher Brown thanks God for the gift of mothers and quotes the Bible: “Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard planted by the water; it was fruitful and full of branches.” While the illustrations are the same as ever (the smiling bears haven’t aged a bit!), the series seems to have moved away from addressing a variety of families.

This Mother’s Day tale is rather limited in its audience to those who can afford fancy brunch after their own religious services, contrary to its apparent message that being together is all that matters. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-310-74869-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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With this ahistorical interpretation, this book shows a disregard for both free will and the gradual maturation of talents...


God’s address to the Hebrew exiles from the Old Testament book of Jeremiah is repurposed in this cheery picture book that emphasizes children’s future careers.

In this decontextualized interpretation of the well-known verse, God narrates the text in a first-person, chatty style (“Hey, YOU!”) that urges children to discover their particular purposes in life, specifically related to career choices (“what I CREATED YOU to do”). The story begins with a fantastical factory in the clouds, controlled by engineers, and the disembodied hand of God pointing at readers. A sort of assembly line with seated, staring children scrolls across the bottoms of the pages, with the boys and girls receiving their professional wardrobes from robotic arms. Above the conveyor belt, smiling children are shown in various jobs wearing relevant career attire, with careful inclusion of children of many ethnicities as well as girls in science, medical, and construction jobs. While the text states that children will “find that one thing / that you love the most,” its overall thrust when combined with the illustrations implies that God chooses a profession for each child at birth and that children should be working toward that profession from an early age. The concluding page urges children to stop reading the book and “go out and find my big plans for YOU.” Readers with unemployed parents or parents toiling in miserable, unhappy jobs will be forgiven for wondering just where in God’s plan their families fit.

With this ahistorical interpretation, this book shows a disregard for both free will and the gradual maturation of talents and personalities. (Picture book/religion. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-310-72410-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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