From School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up-A spin-off of Fairy Tale Feasts (Crocodile, 2006), this time featuring 18 Jewish folktales with related kid-friendly recipes. Some of the stories are well known and accessible to a wide audience, such as "The Latke Miracle" and "The Three Skillful Brothers." However, many of them ("The Demon Who Lived in a Tree," "The Pastry That Was Eternally Dirty," and others) are rather sophisticated and complex, dealing with death and the world to come, giving the collection an uneven tone. The book is divided into four sections: brunch, soup, main courses, and desserts. Most of the recipes are traditional Eastern European Jewish foods-potato pancakes, challah, blintzes, chicken soup, matzo balls, bagels, noodle kugel, tzimmes, rugalach, and hamantaschen-but a few surprises have been added, like shakshuka, a popular Israeli breakfast dish, pomegranate couscous, and matzo lasagna. Fun Jewish sayings are sprinkled in, and Shefrin's textured, collage illustrations add flavor and spice. Meticulous source notes for the retellings and detailed marginalia for each recipe are included. As the authors explain in their introduction, stories and recipes both change and evolve, "suiting the needs of the maker and the consumer," and they give readers permission to experiment because "recipes and stories are made more beautiful, more filling, more memorable by what you put in them." While these stories and recipes can be used independent of each other in classroom and library settings, families will want to pore over them, savor them, and enjoy them to the fullest.-Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, ILα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In this companion to Fairy Tale Feasts (2006), mother-daughter collaborators Yolen and Stemple offer stories and recipes reflecting Jewish culinary traditions. The 18 tales (adapted by Yolen) arise from folkloric sources and each reflects the dish with which it is paired (“The Loaves in the Ark” accompanies a recipe for challah, for example). Stemple’s recipes cover traditional fare, arranged by brunch, soup, main courses, and dessert. Each contribution is carefully sourced; Yolen notes story origins as well as changes she made, while Stemple clarifies the holidays and locales where these foods are typically served. Shefrin’s brightly colored mixed-media collages include full-page illustrations for each story and smaller spot art for the recipes. The overall effect is pleasing but not distracting. While some recipes are involved (especially blintzes), Stemple makes the point that this is a cookbook for kids—not a kid’s cookbook—making it most appropriate for families or other groups where adult direction is available. Pair with Jane Breskin Zalben’s Beni’s Family Cookbook for the Jewish Holidays (1996). Grades K-3. --Kay Weisman