Review: It's Challah Time

It's Challah Time: by Latifa Berry Kropf, photography by Moshe Shai

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Rachel Kamin

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A preschool class demonstrates how to make challah for Shabbat. Simple text and bright, full color photographs illustrate each step from adding the flour, yeast, honey, oil, and eggs to mixing, kneading, and waiting for the dough to rise. The children also braid the dough and prepare the classroom and table for Shabbat. The book ends with the entire class lighting the candles, reciting the blessings, drinking the juice, and of course, enjoying the warm, freshly baked challah. A recipe for Whole Wheat Honey Challah and the blessings for the candles, grape juice/wine, and challah (in Hebrew, transliteration and English) are appended. This 20th Anniversary Edition features a larger 10x10 trim size, updated photos, a slightly altered text, and a more diverse preschool class. A welcome addition to all Jewish preschool classrooms and library collections.

This book meets all Sydney Taylor Book Award criteria. The original edition was a Sydney Taylor Notable Book.

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A synagogue librarian since 1997, reviewer Rachel Kamin is currently the Director of the Cultural & Learning Center at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, Illinois. She served as chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee and as the Book Review Editor for Children & Teens for AJL Reviews. She authors articles and reviews for BookLinks, The Jewish Book Council, Judaica Librarianship, Library Journal, and School Library Journal. She contributed a chapter on children’s books to The Tot Shabbat Handbook: A Practical Guide for Engaging Young Families in Congregational Life edited by Paula Feldstein (URJ Press, 2010) and co-authored a chapter on Jewish children’s literature for a forthcoming book on diversity in non-fiction for the National Council of Teachers of English.