In this third book in a series, an aunt’s wedding sets the stage for this delightful family to teach middle grade readers about life in a traditional Jewish family. This particular family approaches life with a sense of adventure and humor as well as a mega-dose of good values and common sense.
Twins Ellie and Joel — nicknamed YaYa and YoYo based on their Hebrew names, Yael and Yoel — and their older brother, Jeremy, prepare for the wedding of their aunt and soon-to-be uncle with a sense of excitement and awe. They are thrilled to be asked to be an integral part of the ceremony and celebration. But, in spite of her anticipation and her efforts to be of help, YaYa is plagued with a run of bad luck in the weeks leading up to the wedding, including breaking her arm and nearly ruining the gorgeous ketubah her mother, an artist, is making for the new couple. She becomes absolutely terrified that she will cause all kinds of disasters at the wedding itself and completely ruin the day. As Jewish ritual and tradition are an important part of the family’s life and are integral parts of a Jewish wedding, YaYa feels that her only recourse is to plunge into the world of old-time Jewish superstition and try to avert the evil eye in order to save the wedding from catastrophe. She researches every possible amulet, charm, and bit of folklore. and takes each one to heart. In spite of a few comical mishaps accompanied by joyful laughter, the wedding is a spectacular success. The joyous family celebrates and the reader has a grand time learning about Jewish wedding customs, including their associated vocabulary, as well as learning how to help a shy and fearful friend, and maybe even a few new knock-knock jokes, too.
Highly recommended for ages 8 to 12.
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.