Showing posts with the label Lila Spitz

Review: Come and Join Us! 18 Holidays Celebrated All Year Long

Come and Join Us! 18 Holidays Celebrated All Year Long by Liz Kleinrock, illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat Harper (imprint of Harper Collins Publishers), 2023 Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Lila Spitz Buy at   Come and Join Us by ant-bias and ant-racist educator Liz Kleinrock invites readers to listen and learn from a diverse group of students about eighteen holidays celebrated throughout the year. Each holiday is introduced by a student whose family participates in its traditions. Important clothes, foods, and activities integral to the holiday are described and their importance is explained. The book concludes with the message that celebrating holidays with loved ones is the best part of all. Vibrant digital illustrations appropriately complement the themes of celebration. Word color alternates between black and white to provide contrast with the colorful background. The glossary provides helpful and accurate definitions of terms related to specific holidays for referen

Review: Bubbe and Bart's Matzoh Ball Mayhem

Bubbe and Bart's Matzoh Ball Mayhem by Bonnie Grubman, illustrated by Deborah Melmon Intergalactic Afikomen Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Lila Spitz  Buy at In this playful and entertaining book, chaos ensues when Bubbe and her Jewish puppy Bart cook matzoh ball soup for Shabbat dinner. As the matzoh balls bubble out of the pot, Bart playfully catches them in order from one to seven. Grubman’s use of rhyming couplets, figurative language, and clever word choices create an educational and lively story for young readers. The projectile matzoh balls in the book serve multiple purposes; to teach readers to count and to keep intended readers engaged with the story. The cartoon-like illustrations convey a welcoming and playful environment familiar to young readers. The characters featured in the story are diverse in age and country of origin. School-aged children, parents and a grandparent are represented in the story. The book incorporates characters with diverse skin

Review: Rosh Hashanah with Uncle Max

Rosh Hashanah with Uncle Max written & illustrated by Varda Livney Kar-Ben (imprint of Lerner Publishing Group) Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Lila Spitz Buy at Rosh Hashanah with Uncle Max written and illustrated by Varda Livney is perfect for children in PreK. The board book includes relevant Hebrew vocabulary and dollops of humor to tell the story of a mixed-race family gathering on the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Illustrations depict the family of color reciting blessings over candles and wine, eating traditional foods (dates, pomegranates, honey, apples), listening to the sound of the shofar at temple, and celebrating the birthday of the world with songs and sweets.     To draw attention to Uncle Max throughout the story, the illustrator dresses him in an eye-catching flowered shirt which contrasts well with the plain pastel shirts of his family members. The juxtaposition of color and the use of pattern in the illustrations is developmentally appro

Review: Zombie Vacation

A Zombie Vacation by Lisa Rose, illustrated by Ángeles Ruiz Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Lila Spitz Buy at Everyone needs a break from their daily routine now and then, especially when you are not yourself. That’s why you might go on a vacation. But sometimes it is hard to know where to go to rejuvenate yourself. In A Zombie Vacation by Lisa Rose, the undead Israeli narrator takes readers on a tour throughout Israel to find the perfect place to relax. The zombie visits tourist destinations in Israel such as the Sea of Galilee, the Israel Museum and Luna Park in Tel Aviv. But they are all too beautiful or joyful for the Zombie to relax. Then, the undead traveler sees an advertisement for the Dead Sea in a tourist magazine, and eureka, the perfect vacation destination has been found. Upon arriving at the Dead Sea, the zombie delights in the decay of his temporary dwelling when he describes, “The hotel was crumbling into a sinkhole. Roaches roamed the lobby. My bed was

Review: Alligator Seder

Alligator Seder by Jessica Hickman, illustrated by Elissambura Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Lila Spitz This board book by first-time author and native Floridian, Jessica Hikman, chronicles a family of alligators as they prepare-for and celebrate Passover. The book incorporates an A, B, C, B end rhyming pattern. For example: A Every year in Florida, B Our favorite sunshine state, C A very special family B takes out its Seder plate. The book also includes information about alligators such as their habitat and their physical features. It states,“. . . Her cooking is the best in the entire Everglade. . . Their many extra teeth make for an even louder crunch. The meal is being served now, and the gators start to chomp. The delicious smells of dinner go drifting through the swamp”. The illustrator used layers of vibrant color and texture to create cartoon alligators and their swampy environment. The simple, yet playful illustrations depict alligators c