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The Friday Nights of Nana Hardcover – August 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

HSet a few generations ago, this graceful evocation of a family Sabbath dinner radiates all the tenderness of Hest's (the Baby Duck books; Kiss Good Night, Children's Forecasts, Aug. 6) best work. Jennie, the narrator, is spending the day with Nana (" `Today I have no school!' I sing. `Lucky me!' `Today you have no school!' she answers. `Lucky ME!' "). They prepare Nana's already clean and airily inviting house, do the shopping and cooking, and welcome the extended family. Hest emphasizes the intimacies of tradition rather than faith. Nana, for example, "is lighting candles and our dresses are touching and she is whispering Sabbath prayers and no one makes a peep"; the prayers themselves are not part of the story, nor is the symbolism of the candles. Nivola's (The Mouse of Amherst) lapidary, intently focused watercolors stand out for their exquisitely balanced colors. She has a gift for creating harmony out of a profusion of crisp patterns; despite the many elements, the overall mood is one of peace and deep contentment. A quiet gem. Ages 4-7.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

reS-Gr 1-This nostalgic look at the Jewish holiday of Shabbat, although somewhat message driven, is mostly successful. Young Jennie describes her day with Nana as they prepare for the evening. They bake, cook, shop, and spend time together. Finally, all is ready, the family arrives, the candles are lit, and they celebrate the Sabbath. The story is slight, but Hest captures the child's voice and the little details that a youngster notices, as well as the impatience to do the things she most enjoys. The delicate watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations marry well with the text, and Nivola's use of vibrant blues and purples serves to accentuate specific details and descriptions. The artwork's homey, old-fashioned feel fits perfectly with the tone of the story. The family is clearly Orthodox, but the sentiment speaks to anyone looking for a story that re-creates the ambience of this family-oriented observance. As one of the better books on this largely overlooked topic, this title will certainly fill a need where Jewish-themed stories are in high demand.

Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 480L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1 edition (August 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763606588
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763606589
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,396,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amy Hest's many acclaimed children's books include the New York Times bestseller Kiss Good Night. A three-time winner of the prestigious Christopher Award, she lives in New York City. She claims to have absolutely no hidden talents, unless you count an uncanny interest in coffee ice cream and certain dogs in the Wheaten Terrier or Airedale family. Amy likes to take long walks (in the city), ride a bike (in the city), and swim (also in the city). She likes movies and reading, of course!

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on September 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"The Friday nights of Nana begin early Friday morning..." There's so much for little Jennie and her Grandmother to do. Clean and straighten the house, iron the good tablecloth and fold the lace napkins. Then off to the kitchen to bake challahs and pie and polish the candlesticks. After lunch it's time to buy their favorite violet-colored flowers for the table, put the chicken and potatoes in the oven, set the table with Nana's best china and silver and get changed into their special blue dresses for the Sabbath. And as darkness falls, the doorbell rings and in comes the family, Jennie's parents and baby brother, aunts, uncles and cousins. Outside, it's cold, the wind blows and it begins to snow. But inside, Nana lights the candles and quietly says the prayers as the whole family sits down together for Sabbath dinner..... Amy Hest has written a tender and gentle story that transports children to Nana's house and shows them the joy of special family traditions. Her warm and simple text is beautifully complemented by Claire Nivola's evocative illustrations, full of wonderfully expressive detail. Perfect for youngsters 4-8, The Friday Nights Of Nana is a lovely read-aloud story the whole family can share, that will warm your heart and maybe, be the start of a new tradition in your house.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful book to share with your family on a cozy night!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for an 8 yr. old who had read it a year ago. She was so enthralled with the book that she requested it for her birthday present. She reread the book right after the birthday party broke up and she is in love with Nana and what Nana teaches her granddaughter.

I read it, I liked it and I'd give it five starts any day!
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