When two top picture book talents (the team behind the Toys Go Out series) introduce a new generation to Sydney Taylor’s classic stories of Jewish family life on the Lower East Side, it’s what’s known in Yiddish as a mechaye—something that gives great joy. The year is 1912, and Gertie, the youngest of five sisters, throws a tantrum after being told she’s too little to be included in the Hanukkah preparations: “No, Mäusele,” says Mama when Gertie wants to use the potato peeler, “It’s too sharp.” Sent to the communal bedroom for a time-out, Gertie sulks, then worries she’ll miss Hanukkah altogether. But with some sweet, timeless Papa humor and an important responsibility—lighting the first night’s candle—the girl feels welcomed back into the family fold. Jenkins captures a wealth of feelings with a few understated words: “The latkes taste of history and freedom, of love and crispy potato.” Zelinsky’s warm-toned, rough-hewn pictures and intimate perspectives give readers a sense of both the close quarters of tenement life and the unbreakable bonds that made immigrant Jewish families so resilient. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/24/2018 Release date: 09/11/2018 Genre: Children's
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