Chik Chak Shabbat

illus. by Kyrsten Brooker. 32p. Candlewick. 2014. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780763655280. LC 2013953462.
PreS-Gr 3—This charming story is a celebration of multicultural America and friendship. Every Friday afternoon, following her grandmother's weekly tradition, Goldie Simcha (simcha means celebration)—now a young woman living on her own—combines vegetables, dried beans, and barley in a large pot of broth that sits simmering on the stove through Friday night and Saturday until the delicious smell tells her and the four families who live on the floors beneath her that the cholent is ready to eat. Then all the neighbors join Goldie at her large table, each one suggesting which ingredient makes the weekly stew so delicious. But Goldie says, "'For me,the taste of cholent is … Shabbat.'" And all agree that it cannot be made in a hurry. Goldie's neighbors have interests as diverse as their ethnicities—novelist, tuba player, collector of china cups—and the foods they bring to Goldie's table on Shabbat when she feels too ill to cook—pizza, beans and rice, potato curry, and Korean barley tea—combine with their concern for their friend to make a wonderful meal even more special than usual. Brooker brings this sweet story to life with full-page, oil-painted, cartoon-style illustrations heavily detailed with clipped-out magazine photos: tableware; cleverly pieced patterned paper clothing; food and dishes. She has infused each character with distinct personality and presents them as a large, caring family, strengthened by their differences, enjoying the Sabbath together. A recipe for cholent is included.—Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Public Library, OH
Every Saturday Goldie Simcha prepares cholent (stew) to share with her neighbors on the Sabbath. When Goldie is sick, her neighbors create their own (somewhat stereotypical) multicultural feast. It's the embodiment of community, warmth, memory, and tradition--i.e., the Jewish observance of Shabbat. Oil and collage pictures evoke a cheerful urban setting through small details about the apartment dwellers. Recipe appended.
An inviting story that showcases a Jewish custom as well as the vibrancy of urban life. Presents Shabbat traditions and a contemporary main character who observes them in a slightly different way than her grandmother has in the past. The multi-ingredient slow-cooking cholent is a fitting metaphor for a diverse group of neighbors who also share traditional dishes from their own cultures. Kyrsten Brooker’s illustrations are charming. The rich textures capture the feel of historic city buildings, with details such as well-worn wooden floors and walls that have been painted many times over the years.
Every Saturday the delicious smell of cooking tomatoes, barley, potatoes, and beans wafts through a city apartment building as Goldie Simcha in 5-A prepares her famous cholent (stew) to share with her neighbors on the Jewish Sabbath: "For me, the taste of cholent is…Shabbat." One day Goldie is too sick to make the cholent, so her good neighbors -- mensches all -- pitch in to create their own (albeit somewhat stereotypical) multicultural feast: potato curry from the Omars; Mr. Kim's Korean barley tea; tomato pizza from Signora Bellagalli; beans and rice from Tommy Santiago and his mom. Even though there's no cholent, to Goldie the meal "tastes exactly like Shabbat." Rockliff and Brooker evoke a cheerful urban setting through small details about the apartment dwellers and their routines: every Saturday Tommy practices his tuba, Mr. Moon works on his romance novel, etc., while the reassuring scent of cholent -- shown in the illustrations as inviting curls of wispy smoke -- tickles their noses. It's the embodiment of community, warmth, memory, and tradition -- in other words, the Jewish observance of Shabbat. Brooker's oil and collage pictures incorporate many different patterns and real items (candles, potholders, fruits and veggies), adding texture to the comfortably cluttered and convivial scenes. A recipe is included. elissa gershowitz

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