Review: Yummy Hamantaschen

Yummy Hamantaschen

Text by Harold Grinspoon Foundation, illustrated by Elena Resko

PJ Publishing, 2023

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Heidi Rabinowitz

This is a very brief interactive board book that will familiarize babies and toddlers with the Purim treat, hamantaschen. The text addresses the audience directly, inviting them to pat, scoop, and fold to form the traditional three-cornered pastry. Die cut pages and fold-lines bring realism to the hamantaschen. This is the sort of book that will seem like a magic trick to very young children.

The illustrations feature plump, inviting hamantaschen on boldly colored pages. A sprinkle of white makes the dough look floury. The black filling has a raised texture to evoke poppyseeds. The hamantaschen really do look yummy! A white child's hand is pictured on the cover but no other human elements appear in the imagery.

Purim is never mentioned in the text, but a note for adults on the back cover explains the history of the holiday and the significance of the cookie. The focus of the book is squarely on the hamantaschen as physical objects, which feels appropriate for the young readers. The only thing that might be a mismatch for the intended audience is that youngsters tend to prefer fruit or chocolate fillings to poppyseed, but perhaps the customary filling is meant to connect with the adults who will share the book with the children in their care.

This simple interactive book will be very welcome in homes and settings serving the youngest children.

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Reviewer Heidi Rabinowitz is one of the co-admins of The Sydney Taylor Shmooze, along with Susan Kusel and Chava Pinchuck. She hosts The Book of Life Podcast: A Show About Jewish Kidlit (Mostly) at Heidi is Past President of the Association of Jewish Libraries, and Library Director at Congregation B'nai Israel of Boca Raton, Florida.