Brand-New Bubbe

Sarah Aron­son, Ariel Landy (Illus­tra­tor)

  • Review
By – June 6, 2022

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.

Discussion Questions