cover image Chik Chak Shabbat

Chik Chak Shabbat

Mara Rockliff, illus. by Kyrsten Brooker. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5528-0

Designed to cook unattended for 12 hours over the Sabbath, when observant Jews cannot perform work, cholent is a fragrant stew. Goldie Simcha, a youngish woman living in a big-city apartment building, “doesn’t celebrate Shabbat exactly as my grandma did,” but she honors her memory (the book’s title is a colloquialism for “hurry up”) by inviting her neighbors to feast on cholent every Saturday. The dish (a recipe concludes the book) is such a mainstay of building life that when Goldie gets sick and can’t fix cholent, her neighbors bring dishes from their own homelands—all of which share ingredients with cholent (the Omars, for example, bring a curry made of potatoes). “I think it taste exactly like Shabbat,” declares a grateful Goldie. Rockliff’s (Me and Momma and Big John) lovely, unassuming story of tradition and multicultural community is smartly paired with Brooker’s (The Honeybee Man) oil and collages. At once homespun and stylish, the pictures speak to the possibilities for human connection in a modern, urban setting. Ages 3–7. Author’s agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Sept.)