Soosie the Horse That Saved Shabbat by Tami Lehman-Wilzig

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Soosie the Horse That Saved Shabbat by Tami Lehman-Wilzig, illustrated by Menahem Halberstadt (9780998852775)

Long ago, when Jerusalem was still a small town, there was a bakery. The bakery specialized in challah, and made enough for the entire community. Jacob was the bakery’s delivery boy who drove the cart that was pulled by Soosie, the owners’ horse. The two traveled in the early morning along the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem, delivering challah. As each family paid, the coins dropped into the metal bank with a clink-clang. They did the same route, day after day, month after month. But then one day, Jacob was too sick to make the deliveries. Jacob was certain that Soosie, the horse, could make the deliveries all on her own. So they put a note on the cart and sent her on her way. Soosie stopped at each place, accepted the money in the bank, and walked on. Back at the bakery, they worried about whether Soosie could do it all on her own. Three hours passed, and finally Soosie was home again with an empty wagon and a bank full of coins.

Inspired by the history of Angel Bakery in Jerusalem, the author created a gentle folktale about dependability, challah and Shabbat. The author explains the details of Shabbat in her author notes, including the importance of animal rights as a part of Shabbat. Her writing pays homage to folklore capturing the same repeating elements as Jacob and Soosie make their regular rounds. She also uses plenty of sounds in her writing, emphasizing them and inviting participation.

The illustrations are light-hearted and merry. From the bustling bakery to the stable next door to the many people of Jerusalem they interact with. The entire book has the same quiet humor and good-natured belief in one another.

Paying homage to folklore and Jerusalem, this Jewish picture book is full of the warmth of bread and community. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from ARC provided by Kalaniot Books.

Cinnamon Baby

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Cinnamon Baby by Nicola Winstanley, illustrated by Janice Nadeau

Miriam was a baker who had her own little bakery where she made wonderful breads.  She always saved the cinnamon bread for last because it was her favorite.  As she made the bread, she sang the songs of her childhood, weaving them with the scent of cinnamon in the air.  Then one day a young man named Sebastian bought some cinnamon bread and continued to by a loaf every day for a year.  Finally, he proposed to Miriam and she said yes.  Soon a baby was on the way, but when the baby arrived it cried and cried and cried.  Nothing would settle the baby down until Miriam got a sudden idea  and headed for the bakery with her family.  She made every kind of bread with the cinnamon bread saved for last.  And what do you think happened when her voice mixed with the cinnamon and sugar in the air?

This modern magical story is simply delicious.  Winstanley’s writing is gentle and strolling, building towards the story and throughout until it is neatly tied together by the end.  There is a sense of ease, of simplicity and of love throughout the entire book that is very comforting and warm. 

Nadeau’s illustrations have a modern feel to them with their bright mix of yellows and pinks against browns and grays.  At the same time, they feel timeless with the people riding bicycles, pushing prams, and the motif of curling wrought iron. 

This sweet story has the spice of cinnamon to keep it interesting and the warmth of bread baking to keep it filling.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Kids Can Press.