FICTION

All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah

illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky. 40p. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Sept. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399554193.
COPY ISBN
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 3—Four-year-old Gertie, the youngest of five sisters growing up on the Lower East Side of New York City in the beginning of the 20th century, is frustrated that she can't help prepare the potato latkes for the first night of Hanukkah. Charlotte gets to peel the potatoes and Sarah grates them; Henny chops the onions; and Mama cracks the eggs and adds the salt and matzo meal. Big sister Ella picks up Gertie so she can see the two big frying pans hiss and smoke on the stove, but Mama is afraid that the grease will spit and burn her and sends Gertie to her room. Discouraged and angry, Gertie hides under the bed until Papa comes home and lures her out with gingersnaps. Though she isn't old enough to help make the latkes, she is old enough to help Papa light the menorah. And at dinner, Mama gives Gertie the first latke to try and it tastes "of history and freedom, of love and crispy potato." Zelinsky's expressive and textured illustrations done in yellow, blue, and red earth tones with thick, bold lines perfectly capture the love and warmth of a large family despite the modest and overcrowded living quarters. The back matter also provides information about Sydney Taylor, the author of the original All-of-a-Kind Family (first published in 1951), life on the Lower East Side, and additional background about Hanukkah.
VERDICT While readers need not be familiar with the classic series, generations of parents who grew up with this unforgettable immigrant family will certainly welcome this new picture book as the perfect way to introduce these memorable characters to the next generation of readers.

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