Bubbe and Zaide

  • Review
By – January 25, 2021

In an attempt to mar­ry tra­di­tion­al Yid­dish vocab­u­lary, Jew­ish con­tent, and a healthy boost to the con­fi­dence and self-esteem of preschool chil­dren, Anne-Marie Asner has writ­ten a series of pic­ture books fea­tur­ing chil­dren’s per­son­al­i­ty traits, fla­vored with col­or­ful illus­tra­tions and a light-heart­ed, humor­ous approach to dai­ly life.

Pre­vi­ous books in the series have fea­tured the fol­low­ing char­ac­ters: Shmutzy Girl, who is gen­er­al­ly cov­ered in mud; Kvetchy Boy, who loves to com­plain; Shluffy Girl, who likes sleep­ing more than any oth­er activ­i­ty; Noshy Boy, whose favorite pas­time is snack­ing; and oth­ers. The lat­est book in the series, Bub­by and Zaide, fea­tures the chil­dren’s grand­par­ents who, in tra­di­tion­al grand­par­ent mode, always man­age to find the good qual­i­ties behind each child’s foibles.

Seen through the eyes of lov­ing Bubbe and Zaide, Shmutzy Girl is messy due to her infec­tious enthu­si­asm and zest for life, Noshy Boy appre­ci­ates only the very best, Shluffy Girl’s sleepi­ness shows inde­pen­dence of spir­it, and Kvetchy Boy isn’t real­ly com­plain­ing; he’s sim­ply ana­lyz­ing what he sees. The sto­ry proves some­thing many have always known: there is noth­ing like a lov­ing grand­par­ent who is patient and sup­port­ive in order to encour­age a child’s accom­plish­ments and to bol­ster that child’s inner strength. Warm, car­ing bubbes and zaides may not be the only ingre­di­ents to achiev­ing suc­cess in life, but they are absolute­ly invaluable.

This affirm­ing, whole­some book, with its homey Yid­dish sen­si­bil­i­ty, will be enjoyed by chil­dren but will be infused with extra taam if read on the lap of a car­ing grand­par­ent or grand­par­ent-sub­sti­tute, accom­pa­nied by laugh­ter, sweet­ness, and joy.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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