Saturday, November 23, 2013

Papa's Latkes - Michelle Edwards

Illustrated by Stacey Schuett
2004 Candlewick
HC $15.99
32 pages
Goodreads rating: 4.04
My rating: 5
Endpapers: Hanukkah Blue
Smallish drawing of the latkes' raw ingredients
Illustrations:  Oil paintings that my students really admired
1st page::  "Selma and her little sister, Dora, were waiting for Papa to come home.  It was their first Chanukah without Mama.  Selma's heart ached when she remembered how sick and thin Mama had looked last summer.  Thin enough to be blown away by a light summer breeze.  And then, right before school starated, Mama died."

This was a bittersweet but humorous story about a father and his daughters celebrating Hanukkah after the death of their mom.  I read this aloud to my (Jewish) students, which prompted a great conversation about family Hanukkah traditions.  They totally enjoyed it.  There was quite a bit of humor, the difficulty of "creating" latkes was well depicted as was the love of the dad for his girls.  Best of all, for me, was that the kids really marveled over the beautiful oil painted illustrations.  We decided this was a top-notch book.
"Santa Claus, Shmanta Claus!  Whoever heard of a Jewish Santa Claus carrying a fifty-pound bag of potatoes?"
It was Papa.  Selma ran to help him.
"Ho, ho, ho! Oy, oy, oy! Is this ever heavy! said Papa.""
Goodreads:  For Selma and her little sister, this is their first Chanukah without Mama. When Papa comes home carrying all the ingredients for latkes, Selma is worried. Can they make the latkes without Mama? In Michelle Edwards’s poignant story, warmly illustrated by Stacey Schuett, Selma comes to realize that while Chanukah — and especially latkes — will never be the same without Mama, Selma can still celebrate, and will always remember.

"A stirring, tender portrait of beloved children and a father helping them celebrate their mother’s memory." — BOOKLIST

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