Five little smiling Gefilte fish balls wearing top hats (one is always whistling) greet us on the cover of this amusing parody of the “Five Little Ducks” song. They go out daily from their jar to experience city life, bouncing down the wrought iron fire escape, “taking in a play”, swimming in the bay, “crashing the deli buffet” and getting “shlepped away” in a big yellow taxi. Unfortunately for Mama Gefilte, one less gefilte returns each day, causing her to cry out “OY VEY” in consternation, until they all return happily to where the babushka-wearing Mama fish ball sits on her park bench. She stops kvetching, and now kvells with happiness. The funny asides on signage and within the illustrations are clever inside Yiddish jokes for the older crowd, but the book stands on its own as a delightful frolic through New York’s Jewish scene. This book needs to be sung — the zanier the better! Share with some little kids ASAP — just avoid serving Gefilte fish to those who won’t appreciate it!
Lisa Silverman is director of Sinai Temple’s Blumenthal Library in Los Angeles and a former day school librarian. She is the former children’s book review editor of Jewish Book World.