Such a clever idea! Make the Little Red Hen into a balabusta
(that's Yiddish for a singularly sensational homemaker/matriarch/keeper of the spiritual flame), set the story during the Jewish holiday that turns every home into a sacred space, and watch a familiar tale become exponentially funnier and, yes, more meaningful. By the time Kimmelman (Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt!
), a terrifically conversational storyteller, and Meisel (Barnyard Slam
), a slyly astute cartoonist (Sheep looks truly sheepish), are done, readers of all faiths will know a lot more than some emotionally evocative Yiddish words. They'll also understand why Passover whips Jewish mothers into a frenzy (“The Little Red Hen had cleaned her house, top to bottom. There wasn't a crumb of bread to be found anywhere”), and why, even after all her schlepping and kvetching and unassisted matzo making, LRH still cannot turn away her “no-goodnik” friends when they have the chutzpah to show up at her seder. Oh, and one more thing: those who clean up after the seder while their hostess puts her feet up can find redemption for even the most egregious shortcomings. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)