Kayla and Kugel’s Silly ­Sukkot

Apples & Honey. Aug. 2023. 24p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781681156262.
PreS-K–A girl and her dog introduce the basics of Sukkot in this simplistic offering. Kayla and her dog Kugel are helping her parents set up the sukkah. As they get ready, Kugel’s silly antics, including bringing a bat instead of a branch and wearing the paper chain, serve as opportunities for Kayla to explain the holiday. Once the sukkah is fully decorated, Kugel’s despondent face prompts Kayla to remember the most important thing: guests to share the holiday with. The text is simplistic and, in an attempt to both teach and be child-centric, rather didactic. It is short and easily accessible yet completely overlooks the lulav and etrog, which are central pieces of the holiday celebration. The cartoonish illustrations depict Kayla, whose gravity-defying braids perennially point up, and her family with pale skin. Kugel is an appealing, midsized, floppy-eared mutt. The guests on the final spread are depicted with brown skin and curly hair. A mix of spot art and full-bleed spreads encourage page turns, and a letter from the author reiterates Kayla’s facts and includes discussion topics and ways to celebrate the holiday.
VERDICT This mediocre offering would be an acceptable addition to Jewish schools and libraries who are in dire need of Sukkot books for preschoolers. All others can pass.

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