Editorial Review

American Jewish World

Cover: Talia and the Rude Vegetables

“Kar-Ben Publishing, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, has released three delightful books for young readers who want to learn more about the upcoming High Holidays. Both Rosh Hashana and Sukkot are represented in the offerings, and they will brighten up and holiday gathering.

What’s the Buzz? Honey for a Sweet New Year

Take a trip to an Israeli bee farm in the third book in Allison Ofananky and Eilyahu Alpern’s ‘Nature in Israel’ series on Jewish holidays. In this latest book, author Ofanansky and photographer Alpern travel to the Dvorat Hatavor Bee Farm and Education Center at Moshav Shadmot Dvora in Lower Galilee to see how honey is made for Rosh Hashana.

Readers accompany a group of children for a tour led by a guide named Yigal, who explains how the bees create the honeycomb, why beekeepers put hives in orchards and how bees carry ‘kisses’ from flower to flower. The children are also given the opportunity to taste the honey and to make candles from beeswax.

Ofanansky writes the book from the point of view of one of the children on tour, and each highlight is documented with one of Alpern’s vivid photographs.

The only downside to the book is that it ends far too quickly. It leaves you wanting more information about the process of making honey and how such small bees can produce so much. Perhaps to compensate, Ofanansky includes “Fun facts” at the end of the book. Among those is the fact that there are 90,000 beehives in more than 6,000 locations around Israel, and most of the honey they produce is sold around Rosh Hashana.

The other two books in the ‘Nature in Israel’ series are Harvest of Light and Sukkot Treasure Hunt. This book is intended for ages 3-8.

Talia and the Rude Vegetables

Talia is a city girl who is visiting her grandmother in the country for Rosh Hashana. And she is very confused when she mishears her grandmother’s request to collect ‘rude’ vegetables from the garden—such as onions, garlic, turnips and potatoes (root vegetables).

And so begins Talia’s quest to find the rudest vegetables in Grandma’s garden that will make a holiday stew.

Author Linda Elovitz Marshall has crafted a cute story that starts with Talia’s initial confusion, but ends with her performing a holiday mitzvah. Along the way, the reader is introduced to seven root vegetables that Talia describes in her own special way.

The character of Talia has her own unique brand of reasoning. She is a good-hearted girl who is trying her best to find the vegetables that her grandmother most wants. Full-page, colorful illustrations by Francesca Assirelli bring this delightful young girl to life.

Of course, when her grandmother finds out how she chose the ‘rude’ vegetables and what she did with the rest, she is very proud of her independent and resourceful granddaughter. In the end, Talia teaches all of us that the rudest vegetables can often make the tastiest stew.

This book is intended for ages 3-8.

Sadie’s Sukkah Breakfast

Sadie’s Sukkah Breakfast is the first in the new ‘Sadie and Ori’ series that catches up with the younger brother and sister on each Jewish holiday. And this lovely first installment is a wonderful introduction to Sukkot.

Author Jamie Korngold, a rabbi, has crafted a simple story about Sadie and Ori’s unioque interpretation of the traditions of Sukkot. Together with their family, the pair has erected a sukka in their backyard, complete with paper chains, strings of popcorn and fruit mosaics they had made in Sunday school.

When they want to serve an ‘elegant breakfast’ in their sukka, they realize that they will need guests. But no one is awake, so whom can they invite?

Whimsical watercolor illustrations by Julie Fortenberry seem to move with the story, creating a special world for Sadie and Ori. As the story progresses, it’s difficult to refrain from smiling and from loving these well-intentioned children—and those with whom they share their Sukkot traditions.

Up next for Sadie and Ori will be Sadie and the Big Mountain (Shavuot) and Sadies’s Almost Marvelous Menorah (Hanukkah). This book is intended for ages 2-6.

Products Reviewed

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Sadie's Sukkah Breakfast
Talia and the Rude Vegetables
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