Everyone in the neighborhood loves Mr. Mintz. He’s friendly, generous, and helpful; he remembers everyone’s birthday, rakes leaves, and shovels snow when needed; he brings homemade soup to a sick neighbor and delivers latkes on Hanukkah and challah on Shabbat. But Mr. Mintz is most famous for his sweet and savory, gooey and delicious Shavuot blintzes. When he breaks his leg skateboarding just before the holiday, his neighbors surprise him by working together to make the blintzes.
Cute, expressive cartoon illustrations depict a diverse contemporary neighborhood, with added speech bubbles used to enhance the text. The text mentions that “Shavuot celebrates the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people,” and the appended author’s note further explains that “because the Torah is said to be nourishing, like milk, many people celebrate Shavuot by eating dairy foods such as cheese, ice cream, and blintzes.”
The strength of Mr. Mintz’s Blintzes is in how it illustrates in a fun way the Jewish values of chesed (kindness) and visiting the sick. There are similar versions of the story told about other times of year in picture books, some examples being The Cholent Brigade by Michael Herman, illustrated by Sharon Harmer (Kar-Ben, 2017), Chik Chak Shabbat by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker (Candlewick, 2016), and The Bagel King by Andrew Larsen, illustrated by Sandy Nichols (Kids Can Press, 2018).
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.