Mr. Belinsky's Bagels

Ellen Schwartz, Author, Stefan Czernicki, Illustrator
Ellen Schwartz, Author, Stefan Czernicki, Illustrator Charlesbridge Publishing $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-88106-256-4
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Mr. Belinsky's bagels are the toast of the town. His poppy seed bagels help soothe Mrs. Alperstein's many ailments, while Frankie the would-be tough guy is hooked on the onion bagels. So when Mr. Belinsky's son, Victor, encourages him to expand and bake other goods, he replies: ""Should a doctor fix leaky pipes? No!.... Should Belinsky make fancy cakes? NO! I make bagels. Bagels is what I make. And that's that."" But after a fancy bakery opens across the street, he starts to turn out dainty pastries. The new line is a hit, but every night, ""his hands felt... as though they were missing something. But he couldn't remember what."" Predictably, Belinsky is soon back to bagels and, of course, back to his spiel (""I make bagels. Bagels is what I make""). Czernecki's (The Cricket's Cage) flat compositions and matte gouaches reinforce the old-fashioned tone. However, the illustrations are also fairly static, and the characters' faces look strangely vacant, even when they gaze upon the longed-for bagels. All ages. (July)
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