KADDISH FOR GRANDPA IN JESUS' NAME AMEN

James Howe, Author, Catherine Stock, Illustrator
James Howe, Author, Catherine Stock, Illustrator , illus. by Catherine Stock. S&S/Atheneum $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-689-80185-3
Reviewed on: 04/26/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
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Five-year-old Emily's family is Jewish but her grandfather is Christian (Emily's father converted). When Grandpa dies, narrator Emily attends church for the first time, for Grandpa's funeral, and hears songs "about angels and joyful, joyful we adore thee. And prayers that ended in Jesus' name amen." After the family flies home, Daddy decides he wants to remember Grandpa "in a Jewish way, too" and lights "a special candle that burned through the night," invites people to come over and listen to his and Mommy's stories about Grandpa and join the rabbi in "a special prayer called the Kaddish." Emily can't understand the prayer (it's in Hebrew), but likes the way the words remind her of being in temple. Working in her characteristic watercolor style, Stock (Galimoto ) brings out the warmth in every transaction within Emily's extended family, supplying tender backdrops. Howe (Bunnicula; Horace and Morris but Mostly Dolores ), unfortunately, isn't up to his usual standard. Nobody seems to explain the confusing rituals to Emily, but she finds a way to channel her feelings—each night she touches her Grandpa's eyeglass case, tucked under her pillow (Grandma gave it to her because "she said I was always the best one at helping Grandpa find his glasses"). Emily knows that "it wasn't the Christian way and it wasn't the Jewish way. It was just my way. My Kaddish for Grandpa in Jesus' name amen." The story has the ring of anecdote but not of art—it's difficult to imagine an audience for it. Ages 4-8. (May)

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