cover image French Toast Sundays

French Toast Sundays

Gloria Spielman, illus. by Inbal Gigi Bousidan. Apples & Honey, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-68115-529-6

Mina is inconsolable when her beloved grandmother dies, and as people gather in her home to observe Jewish mourning rituals (explained in a brief afterword), she retreats to her favorite branch in the big oak tree next to her home and refuses to come down. But as she overhears family and friends telling stories about Grandma, she realizes that there are wonderful revelations in store for everyone: Grandma’s own children never knew their mother rode a motorcycle “all the way to Brighton Beach,” and Mina finally learns why Grandma always turned down her invitations to join her on the tree branch. Soon, Mina returns to the fold to share her own Grandma “secret”—her mysterious recipe for the perfect French toast they cooked together every Sunday morning (it starts with tying the apron “Not too tight. Not too loose. Just right”). Spielman (Marcel Marceau: Master of Mime) and Bousidan strike a mood of reassuring calm and contemplation: the writer with her measured, direct prose, and the illustrator with crisp lines, soft colors, distilled details, and liberal white space. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)