Review: Tzimmes for Tzipporah

Tzimmes for Tzipporah

by Megan Hoyt, illustrated by Christine Battuz

Apples & Honey Press (imprint of Behrman House), 2023

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Claire Freeland

It's the first year that Tzipporah is old enough to help with the early fall harvest on her family's farm. Three days before the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, she rides on the tractor driven by her father, and they turn the soil. Tzipporah learns that the tractor has uncovered various root vegetables. Two days before Rosh Hashanah, our little main character helps gather the rutabagas, yams, turnips, potatoes, and carrots. She and her friends scrub off all the dirt. The day before Rosh Hashanah, Tzipporah and her folks ready the tzimmes, using an old family recipe. And on Rosh Hashanah they enjoy the tzimmes with friends and family after synagogue. A recipe and an author's note round out this sweet farm-to-table Rosh Hashanah story. The illustrations, which are bright and engaging, depict a light-skinned family with a darker-skinned friend. The tzimmes and brisket menu suggests an Ashkenazic family. The family drives to synagogue on the holiday, hence representing branches of Judaism whose members do so as well.

The book is a good contender for the Sydney Taylor award. This authentic Jewish story is unique in
connecting tradition with family farming. Reading this book prior to Rosh Hashanah will give an opportunity to talk about where food comes from as well as ways to prepare for the holiday. Jewish and non-Jewish readers will learn about root vegetable farming, tzimmes, and basics about Rosh Hashanah.

Editor's Note: The meal in the book is not kosher, as it includes both brisket and tzimmes cooked with butter, mixing meat with dairy. This may align with the dietary practice of some readers, but not with others. 

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Reviewer Claire Freeland is a Baltimore, Maryland based children's book writer. She has co-authored seven books, published by Magination Press, that guide children and teens in new ways of thinking about feelings and behaviors, and introduce the science of psychology. Her current work focuses on Jewish-themed board and picture books. 


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