Review: Challah Day!

Challah Day!

by Charlotte Offsay, illustrated by Jason Kirschner

Holiday House, 2023

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Linda Marshall
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In this warm, rollicky kitchen adventure, a family (including the dog and rambunctious baby) prepares to welcome Shabbat by making home-made challah for Friday night dinner. In bouncing, rhyming language that begs to be read aloud again and again and again, the steps of challah-making are described. Hilarious illustrations by Jason Kirschner depict the joy of family baking and add to the humor. The rhymes bounce, the story is told, the table is spread. The reader is in for a treat.

Challah Day is a warm, humorous, and accurate representation of an Ashkenazic Jewish family as they make the traditional challah bread in preparation for Shabbat. The story's emphasis on creating a Jewish home shines at the end of the story when older guests (presumably grandparents) arrive to join in welcoming Shabbat. Back matter includes an easy-to-follow (and fun to read) recipe and information about challah and bread and their role in the Ashkenazic Jewish tradition. A "must" for every library that would like to include easily-accessible information about the most holy of Jewish days - Shabbat.

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Award-winning author of almost two dozen picture books, reviewer Linda Elovitz Marshall grew up near Boston, then attended Barnard College/Columbia University where she studied anthropology. She raised four (now-grown) children as well as chickens, rabbits, and sheep on a 200-year-old farm on the Hudson River. After teaching preschool, pursuing a Ph.D. in Anthropology, owning an indie bookstore, she began writing for children. Her books include: THE POLIO PIONEER: DR. JONAS SALK AND THE POLIO VACCINE; BOB MARSHALL: Defender of the Wilderness; MEASURING A YEAR: A ROSH HASHANAH STORY; and forthcoming BRAVE VOLODYMYR: Volodymyr Zelensky and the Fight for Ukraine.