Review: Pumpkin Pie for Sigd

Pumpkin Pie for Sigd

by Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod, illustrated by Denise Damanti

Apples & Honey Press (imprint of Behrman House)

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Chava Pinchuck

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The focus of this story is on Maddie, a white American girl who has made aliyah with her family from the United States, and who misses Thanksgiving and its traditional foods. She is welcomed by her black friend Orly's family to join their celebration of Sigd, the Ethiopian holiday that celebrates the acceptance of the Torah. The story highlights diversity with the girls prevailing on neighbors for ingredients for a pumpkin pie. The illustrations are colorful, with the Sigd celebration scenes full of happy people and lively interaction. Readers learn about traditional Ethiopian foods - misir wat (spicy lentil stew), injera (sour bread), and dabo (holiday bread). An author's note explains how immigrants to Israel acclimate and a little about Sigd, which falls on the 29th of Cheshvan (this year on November 4th). While it's not quite a Thanksgiving book and not quite a Sigd book, it does make readers aware of a Jewish holiday they may not have heard about before.

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Reviewer Chava (Kathe) Pinchuck worked in private and public libraries in New Jersey before making aliyah in 2012. In Israel she has worked as a cataloger of legal documents and a cybrarian for a distance learning institution. She is a past chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, past co-editor of the Children's and YA Book Reviews for AJL News and Reviews, and the current editor of the Jewish Values Finder, a database of Jewish children's books. [Ed. Note: Chava is one of the co-chairs of The Sydney Taylor Shmooze.]