Showing posts with the label Claire Freeland

Review: Too Many Golems

Too Many Golems by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Maya Shleifer Chronicle Books, 2024 Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Claire Freeland Buy at The set-up for this appealing story about golems is that the Rabbi’s son, Abi, in his obliviousness, gets in trouble repeatedly. When he takes an old, tattered scroll from the synagogue basement, he innocently practices the words…sings the words…reads the words…and, fourth time being the charm, summons not one, but ten golems. So, what to do? He does what every well-taught rabbi’s son does: he welcomes the stranger(s). The golems tell him they are there to fight on his behalf. Abi asks them for help in his losing battle with Hebrew. The golems end up tutoring Abi weekly in Hebrew while throwing in some golem songs and stories as well. Years later, Abi’s Hebrew at his Bar Mitzvah is stellar. The golems are as proud as could be. Now that Abi doesn’t need them anymore, the golems slip away. Back matter addresses the origin of the golem le

Review: Tyrannosaurus Tsuris: A Passover Story

Tyrannosaurs Tsuris: A Passover Story by Susan Tarcov, illustrated by Elissambura Kar-Ben Publishing (imprint of Lerner Publishing Group), 2024 Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Claire Freeland Buy at Susan Tarcov and Elissambura team up in this delightful Passover story set among the dinosaurs. All the dinosaurs are preparing their Passover seders, each one confronting tsuris, a Yiddush word for trouble. But no one’s tsuris is as great as that of Tyrannosaurus. None of the dinosaurs wants to come to his seder because they are afraid of him. At the end, the dinosaur community decides that together they are safe around Tyrannosaurus. They each solve their own sources of tsuris by pooling their resources for one grand seder. In so doing, they help Tyrannosaurus fulfill the mitzvah of having guests at the seder. A brief author's note reviews the basics of Passover.  The story does a wonderful job of defining tsuris, giving multiple examples. It recounts preparations for