The Shabbat Princess

  • Interest Level: Preschool - Grade 2
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

Rosie likes queens, but she really loves princesses! One Shabbat eve, she persuades her parents to invite the Shabbat Princess to their home. As the family prepares for their royal visitor, they are reminded that adding beauty to a mitzvah only increases its worth.

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Interest Level Preschool - Grade 2
Reading Level Grade 2
Genre Picture Books
Copyright 2011
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Kar-Ben Publishing ®
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2011-08-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV017090, JUV033020
Dewey [E]
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 10.375 x 8.875
ATOS Reading Level 3.3
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 147417
Accelerated Reader® Points 0.5
Features Original artwork and Reviewed

Author: Amy Meltzer

Illustrator: Martha Avilés

Martha Avilés was born and raised in Mexico City. She has illustrated many children's books including Say Hello, Lily; The Shabbat Princess; and Stones for Grandpa.


Children's Literature Comprehensive Database (CLCD)

“If your reading group includes pink-loving girls who are perennially clothed in princess dresses, this book will be an immediate winner. From its rose-colored cover to its costume box full of gowns, this book will instantly appeal to fans of Aurora, Belle, and Cinderella while delivering a message about Sabbath observation that should be well-received by Jewish families. This sweet story integrates the observance of the Shabbat dinner and the welcoming of the ‘Shabbat Queen’ with a contemporary tale. Thankfully, the term ‘Jewish princess’ never appears in its pages. Rather the main character, a girl named Rosie thinks that if we celebrate the arrival of Shabbat as a queen, there must be room for a princess, as well. This makes perfect sense if you are a four- or five-year-old girl, as Rosie appears to be. Dressed in her costume box finest—Rosie appears to be an only child with very doting parents—Rosie wants diamonds but settles for the crystal candlesticks her mother produces. A goblet is the Shabbat cup that her father retrieves; clearly, it hasn’t been unwrapped since mom and dad’s wedding day. Finally, the challah needs an appropriate ‘garment,’ so Rosie retrieves a glittery scarf. Bit by bit, Rosie’s small family observes the Sabbath meal with ceremony and finery. Pictures by Martha Aviles portray a loving home and highlight Rosie’s excitement at creating her own version of Shabbat. Mom and Dad may have fallen down on previous preparations, but it’s clear that their weekly dinner will now be infused with a different feel and spirit thanks to Rosie. All in all, this is a delightful book that will be scooped up by princess-obsessed girls looking for an excuse to ‘dress’ for dinner.

Jewish Book World

The Shabbat Princess is a fun, colorful book perfect for the three-to-five year old crowd, girls, in particular. For many in this age group, there is nothing more special than dressing up for an occasion. In The Shabbat Princess, Rosie starts asking questions about Shabbat and learns that her mother’s preparations are to welcome the Shabbat Queen. ‘Princesses are much more exciting than queens,’ Rosie says, figuring she, herself, will dress up as the princess. She dresses to the nines and encourages her parents to go the extra mile to make their Shabbat experience more special, digging out their crystal candlesticks and shining their silver goblets. She creates a Shabbat table fit for a princess and enjoys a royal banquet with her parents. This is a fun book with great illustrations. It conveys the spunkiness of a young girl and her enthusiasm to truly celebrate the Sabbath in style. It’s a fun read for under-five crowd and a story they will enjoy.”—Jewish Book World

National Center for the Study of Children's Literature

“This isn’t your typical spoiled princess book; you know the contemporary fairy tale versions in which Cinderella becomes a princess without paying any dues first. Contemporary princess just stamps her little feet and gets what she wants.

Nope, this book shows a family working/playing together to make Shabbat even more special by inviting not only the Queen of Shabbat (Shabbat itself is the Queen) but also the princess, none other than the little girl who loves Shabbat but wonders why there’s no princess. She and her parents all contribute to making their little girl the princess by finding dress-up clothes, taking out their best candlesticks, polishing the silver, and having the first of some very special Friday nights. The little girl might wish for diamond decorations but is very happy with what the family can provide.

This lovely story is enhanced by warm, colorful illustrations, notably depicting not fair-skinned Ashkenazi Jews but brown-tone Mexican Jews, reminding us all of the geographical and cultural reach of Judaism.”—National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature


The Shabbat Princess, by Amy Meltzer, illustrated by Martha Aviles (Kar-Ben). You know it happens: A little girl turns 3 and becomes a princess-obsessed, tiara-wearing, trilling little loon. Thankfully, the phase generally passes by age 6. But if you’re in the thick of it, my prescription is to buy Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter for yourself and The Shabbat Princess for your wee Sleeping Beauty. The tale of a little girl who wants to welcome the Shabbat Princess instead of the Sabbath Queen, it’s charming, spiritual, nonmaterialistic, and right in the wheelhouse of the princess-crazed. The illustrations are wince-inducingly saccharine for my taste, but I am not the demo. My in-house focus group—aka my 7-year-old daughter, Maxie—loved everything about this book.”—Tablet

Jewish Community Voice (Southern New Jersey)

“Candles, latkes, gifts— Chanukah traditions bring light and joy to the dark days of winter. As you select presents for your children, we urge you to give them books. Each year, publishers offer new Chanukah titles, and this year there are some great choices. We gathered recently to discuss the new crop of Chanukah books:

Little girls love The Shabbat Princess by Amy Meltzer. This is a cute story about a little girl who loves princesses, and wants her family to welcome not just the Shabbat Queen, but a Shabbat Princess, too. She dresses in her finest princess grown, and her parents get into the spirit by bringing little used but treasured objects to the table. The Jewish value of hiddur mitzvah—the enhancement of mitzvot and observances with objects of beauty—is explained in an endnote.” —Interfaith Family

School Library Journal

“Jewish girls who love all things related to princesses, especially fans of Pinkalicious and Fancy Nancy, will delight in this endearing story.” –School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

“Meltzer (Mezuzah on the Door) illuminates the concept of hiddur mitzvah, the idea that using objects of beauty during religious observances enhances religious practice. Young Rosie wants to make her family’s weekly observance of Shabbat extra special by doing more than just eating from their best dishes. She invites ‘the Shabbat Princess,’ along with the Shabbat Queen, and she enjoins her parents to help make their dinner more fitting for a princess. Bringing out the crystal candlesticks and shining the silver Kiddush cup reminds Rosie’s parents that their weekly celebration deserves a little sprucing up, that the return of Shabbat every Friday evening is like a regular visit from an honored guest and ‘deserves extra special treatment.’ Illustrations by Avilés (Fiesta Dress: A Quinceañera Tale)—in muted earth tones, pinks and purples, featuring lush textiles—bring alive the preparation of the evening meal. This appealing enactment of a Talmudic principle will appeal to early grade readers.” —Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

“Meltzer’s child-oriented tale presents a lovely way to honor the Sabbath with a bit of respectful festivity.” —Kirkus Reviews