Wait! It's Friday

illus. by Christine Grove. 24p. Apples & Honey Pr. Apr. 2019. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781681155425.
PreS-This simple book captures the anticipation of waiting for Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath). However, its simplicity leaves too much to the imagination. A little boy spends his day waiting as his interracial Jewish family members make preparations. They shop, make challah and matzah balls, beautify the house, and ultimately, sit at the beautiful table, light the candles, and acknowledge the arrival of Shabbat. There's a lot to like here. The text is direct and child-oriented, capturing the universal feeling of waiting for an anticipated event. The illustrations are cartoonish, with plenty of white space, focusing viewers' eyes on the protagonist as he plays, draws, and helps throughout the day. The multi-generational family denies stereotypes. Dad, who is light-skinned, stays home, bakes challah and cares for the kids, along with the white grandparents, while dark-skinned, curly haired mom goes to work. The illustrations nicely incorporate details of Shabbat. In the final scene at the table, Mom stands, clearly blessing the candles, the children cover their eyes (a tradition while saying the prayer) and the table contains wine and a partially covered challah. The waiting ends, and "Shabbat is here." This is a lovely book for those knowledgeable about Shabbat. Unfortunately, the opportunity to expand the audience was missed by not including any explanation of the blessings over the candles, wine, and challah, or an endnote for those unfamiliar, thus limiting the audience.
VERDICT An engaging addition for libraries and preschools serving Jewish populations, but most others can pass.-Amy Lilien-Harper, Wilton Library, CT

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