When her mom remarries, Jillian gets a new stepdad and a new bubbe. Since she already has a Noni and a Gram, Jillian is not interested in adding anyone else new to her family. Bubbe can’t seem to win Jillian’s affections no matter what she tries. But when she brings over the ingredients to make matzo ball soup, Jillian can’t resist.
After slurping down a few bowls, she has an idea. Jillian invites all three of her grandmothers — plus her dad and her great-grandmother —for a “Super Soup Celebration.” Noni makes Italian meatball soup, Gram makes gazpacho and of course, Bubbe makes matzo ball soup. And, Jillian quickly realizes, “Like soup, family was made with love. And there was always room for more.”
The final page spread shows Jillian’s pregnant mother, and observant readers will be delighted to discover an adorable new sibling running across the endpages. Bright, colorful, expressive illustrations depict a fun-loving, contemporary, multicultural, and interfaith blended family. And it’s refreshing to see three bicycle-riding and basketball-playing grandmothers: Bubbe with frizzy red hair and hip purple glasses; petite Gram in a stylish headband, hiking boots, and shorts; and tall, slender Noni with a red beret and pearls.
All three soup recipes, with detailed instructions, are appended along with a list of resources for inter-faith and blended families. Similar to Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup by Pamela Mayer, illustrated by Deborah Melmon (Kar-Ben, 2016), and Tale of Two Seders by Mindy Avra Portnoy, illustrated by Valeria Cis (Kar-Ben, 2010), young readers who can personally relate to Jillian will feel validated and seen, and all readers will discover that “family is more than blood” and “there is no one right way to blend a family.” As Aronson writes in her afterward: “The only mandatory ingredients for celebrating your family are patience, humor, and of course, lots and lots of love!”
Rachel Kamin has been a synagogue librarian and Jewish educator for over twenty-five years and has worked at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, IL since 2008, currently serving as the Director of Lifelong Learning. A past chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee and past editor of Book Reviews for Children & Teens for the Association of Jewish Libraries News & Reviews, her articles and book reviews appear in numerous publications. She has been a member of the American Library Association’s Sophie Brody Book Award Committee since 2021.