Showing posts with the label Eric A. Kimmel

Review: Matzah Man to the Rescue!

Matzah Man to the Rescue! by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Charlie Fowkes Apples & Honey Press (imprint of Behrman House), 2024 Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Julie Ditton Buy at “Never Fear, Matzah Man is here.” Eric Kimmel is one of the most prolific picture book authors around. With over 150 books to his credit, he has been delighting children for fifty years. Many of his books about Jewish holidays or topics, but most are folktale retellings. Now we have something completely different. Instead of a folktale, he has spun a modern Passover story based on pop culture superheroes. Kids might recognize Superman or Batman, but older family members will recognize Underdog as well. This wacky book has Matzah Man flying around the world to help save three different seders with missing symbols. Along the way, readers will learn about vegetarian alternatives to the shank bone, varieties of matzah, and the differences between Ashkenazi and Sephardic charoset. Matzah Man co

Review: Miriam and the Sasquatch: A Rosh Hashanah Story

Miriam and the Sasquatch by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Tamara Anegon Apples & Honey Press (imprint of Behrman House), 2022 Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Linda Elovitz Marshall Buy at It’s early fall, and Rosh Hashanah is coming. Miriam gazes at an apple orchard, imagining a delicious honey-and-apple holiday feast. She enters the orchard, not to pick apples but to practice blowing her shofar where the sound won’t bother anyone. As she practices, she hears munching and crunching, gets bopped on the head by an apple, and discovers a sasquatch sitting in the tree, eating apples that she needs for Rosh Hashanah. She tells Sasquatch to stop, but Sassy keeps eating. She blows the shofar. Sassy howls back and keeps eating. She throws an apple. Sasquatch throws it back… and the apple hits a beehive, causing bees to swarm toward Miriam and Sasquatch. Miriam and Sassy run toward the pond for safety, but Miriam slips and falls. Sasquatch picks her up, and carries her to th

Review: Shield of the Maccabees

Shield of the Maccabees: A Hanukkah Graphic Novel by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Dov Smiley Apples & Honey Press (imprint of Behrman House)   Category: Middle Grade Reviewer: Leah Cypess Buy at "All history books," Dara Horn has written, "fact or fiction, are really about the times in which they are written, not about the times they supposedly describe." This is particularly true when it comes to historical fiction, and it's very true about Shield of the Maccabees, Eric Kimmel and Dov Smiley's graphic novel about a friendship between a Greek boy and a Jewish boy that is fractured by the conflict between the Greeks and the Jewish Maccabees.   Kimmel uses this framework to tell a story about friendship transcending differences -- a story that should appeal greatly to its intended modern-day audience, although the main message might have made little sense to its historical characters.   Its main poin

Review: The Three Latkes

The Three Latkes by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Feronia Parker-Thomas Kar-Ben Publishing (imprint of Lerner Publishing Group) Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Lisa Silverman   Buy at Jewish holiday books that riff off of a known folk tale can be fun, such as The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah , or The Runaway Latke . Here well-known author Eric Kimmel is lightly mimicking the part of the Gingerbread Man story where the fox outwits the Gingerbread Man and gobbles him up.  Latkes made from red, yellow, and gold potatoes argue about which of them is the best, and invite the cat to judge the contest by eating them up. The cat devours them after topping them with applesauce, sour cream, and jam. The winner of the contest remains forever unknown because the latkes are no longer there to hear the answer. As an adult reader, I notice a number of logical inconsistencies. The most noticeable of these is the fact that the sentient latkes wish to be eaten, although they know

Review: Nicanor's Gate

Nicanor's Gate by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Alida Massari Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Rachel Kamin Buy at Nicanor’s Gate by Eric Kimmel was first published by The Jewish Publication Society in 1979 with illustrations by Jerry Joyner (1938-2019). The undersized 7x7 inch trim had lengthy, dense text in a small font on the right side of each page along with a framed two color black and blue, difficult-to-decipher illustration on the right. It’s no wonder the book hasn’t circulated from my synagogue library since 1990! Fortunately, Eric Kimmel has penned a new, more accessible version of this wonderful, ancient Talmudic tale with lush, radiant full-color, full spread illustrations in earth tones, blues, and pinks by Alida Massari (Under the Sabbath Lamp , 2017). The simple, clear, and concise text tells the story of the wealthy merchant from Alexandria who volunteers to commission new gates for the ruined Temple in Jerusalem. But when the ship carrying N