Not So Fast, Max: A Rosh Hashanah Vis­it with Grandma

Annette Schot­ten­feld, Jen­nifer Kirkham (Illus­tra­tor)

  • Review
By – September 2, 2021

A won­der­ful grand­moth­er — Savta”in Hebrew, and as she is called in the book — arrives from Israel for a vis­it with her two grand­chil­dren in Amer­i­ca. A relaxed, vague­ly hip­pie woman of inde­ter­mi­nate age, she is imme­di­ate­ly lov­able. From her long, gray, attrac­tive­ly disheveled hair, vis­i­ble yet dis­creet wrin­kles, work boots, and svelte, healthy physique, she is obvi­ous­ly fun even before she says one word. And her demeanor! She is a unique and spe­cial grandmother.

Sav­ta takes Max and his sis­ter on an adven­ture. They are search­ing for apples to pick so they can make a spe­cial treat for Rosh Hashanah — caramel apples. As they search and pick, Sav­ta shows off her many unex­pect­ed skills: she can aim and throw like an ath­lete, she can jug­gle like a cir­cus per­former, and she can tell engag­ing sto­ries, all the while gen­tly edu­cat­ing the chil­dren about the hol­i­day and about their fam­i­ly history.

The sto­ry flows effort­less­ly into a short deli­cious adven­ture which pulls togeth­er life lessons, Rosh Hashanah rit­u­als, fam­i­ly tra­di­tions, and some yum­my-sound­ing recipes.

Beau­ti­ful­ly illus­trat­ed, the book includes Hebrew vocab­u­lary and insights about Rosh Hashanah. One small caveat: the caramel apple recipe calls for slic­ing the treats into wedges before serv­ing, which could be option­al. The apples can be con­sumed whole on the stick! Enjoy!

Award-win­ning jour­nal­ist and free­lance writer, Helen Weiss Pin­cus, has taught mem­oir writ­ing and cre­ative writ­ing through­out the NY Metro area to senior cit­i­zens and high school stu­dents. Her work has been pub­lished in The New York Times, The Record, The Jew­ish Stan­dard, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. She recent­ly added Bub­by” to her job description.

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