Bring Back the Babka!

Barefoot. Oct. 2023. 32p. Tr 17.99. ISBN 9798888590089.
PreS-Gr 2–A freshly baked cinnamon babka goes missing and two brothers, Sammy and Sol, and their dog Mazel are on the hunt. The trio travels through their neighborhood looking for the lost loaf, hoping to find it before Shabbat begins and Rabbi Sally arrives for the meal. The boys and their dog stop by house after house asking their neighbors for any potential sightings. Rather than finding the babka, they get the opportunity to sample the various foods being prepared, highlighting the diversity of Jewish cooking. The diversity extends beyond the cooking to the people themselves. Some of the neighbors are conservatively dressed, reflecting a more orthodox religion, while others are tattooed; an array of skin tones is shown across the population. The mystery of the missing babka is solved by the story’s end, and a community feast is shared. Back matter includes additional information about the dishes highlighted in the story as well as a recipe for babka. The illustrations are warm and friendly and have a timeless quality that embraces Jewish traditions as well as celebrates the future of a diverse Jewish community.
VERDICT A food-filled mystery that celebrates the diversity of Jewish food and the Jewish community. Readers will be hungry by the story’s end!

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