Review: The Rosh Hashanah Recipe

The Rosh Hashanah Recipe (Ruby Celebrates! series)

by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Olga and Aleksey Ivanov

Albert Whitman & Company, 2022

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Sandy Wasserman

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Ruby, her cousins, and even the dog are off to the apple orchard, baskets in hand! Apple picking turns into a contest, the kids versus the adults. When the kids win, they realize that together they've collected so many apples they don't know what to do with them all. Ruby comes up with a creative idea, to have a cooking show called "Cooking with the Cousins!" Together, they make apple lasagna, apple pizza and apple pancakes, and still have enough to give a basket of apples to a neighbor. After Rosh Hashanah services at synagogue, the family has a sweet New Year back at Bubbe's house. Only the dog still looks longingly at just one more apple! The story features a diverse extended family: most members are white, but biracial Cousin Avital's Dad is Black, and Cousin Ethan has two moms.
Backmatter includes information on Rosh Hashanah, as well as two recipes for apple pizza, one savory and one sweet. Many holiday customs are represented, including the "Shana Tova" greeting, the shofar, round challah, and honey for a sweet new year. Notably, it's never explicitly stated that the apples are to be dipped in the honey.

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Reviewer Sandy Wasserman is a retired teacher of Gifted and Talented students, and taught for 35 years in both public schools and at a Solomon Schechter Day School. She's a wife, mother of two adult daughters, and grandmother to two fantastic 'first readers' of her manuscripts. Her published book, The Sun's Special Blessing [2009], was her first serendipitous and fun experience in the publishing world. She loves to read and swim, though not at the same time.