Talia and the Very Yum Kippur

Lin­da Elovitz Mar­shall Francesca Assirelli, illus.
  • Review
By – December 4, 2015

Love­ly col­or­ful draw­ings intro­duce the read­er to a delight­ful sto­ry about Yom Kip­pur and the prepa­ra­tions lead­ing up to the hol­i­day. On her grand­par­ents’ farm, Talia col­lects eggs and helps her grand­fa­ther milk a cow. These ingre­di­ents will be used for the kugel (noo­dle pud­ding) she and her grand­moth­er will make lat­er. The kugel recipe is giv­en at the end of the book.

The charm of the book is that Talia thinks that the food they are mak­ing is for break­fast. When break­fast time comes and goes, her grand­moth­er explains that the food is for break-fast, a meal the fam­i­ly with enjoy in the evening. Talia also mis­in­ter­prets fast” as the pace of the day, which in her eyes is slow. Once again, Grand­ma explains that a fast” as it applies to Yom Kip­pur is not eat­ing for the day. Simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, she explains the mean­ing and pur­pose of the hol­i­day. It is then that Talia apol­o­gizes not only for acci­den­tal­ly break­ing her grand­par­ents’ lamp but also about lying about who did it. It is then Grandma’s turn to say she is sor­ry for yelling at her when this hap­pened. At day’s end, the whole fam­i­ly joins Talia for a tru­ly yum” Kip­pur break-fast meal. 

For chil­dren who have lit­tle expe­ri­ence with rur­al set­tings, the book actu­al­ly shows them where eggs and milk come from. Addi­tion­al­ly, the rela­tion­ship Talia has with her grandpar­ents is a warm and pos­i­tive one, a nice mod­el for lit­tle ones to see, though most Jew­ish fami­lies have left rur­al com­mu­ni­ties and moved to urban settings.

The warmth and the charm of the mala­propisms, and the pos­i­tive rela­tion­ship between gen­er­a­tions make this a delight­ful sto­ry; nev­er­the­less, there are some major red flags that edu­ca­tors and par­ents must be aware of pri­or to pur­chase. The pub­lish­ers are aware of these and plan to rec­ti­fy some issues pri­or to a sec­ond edi­tion. In the mean­time, please know that the art and text have some glar­ing incon­sis­ten­cies includ­ing por­tray­als of the grand­moth­er seem­ing­ly knit­ting and drink­ing cof­fee on Yom Kip­pur. The char­ac­ters are prepar­ing food dur­ing the day itself, although many who observe would pre­pare the day before. The char­ac­ters do dis­cuss issues of for­give­ness, but the after­word implies that syn­a­gogue ser­vices are only attend­ed by those of post – bar/​bat mitz­vah age. This love­ly sto­ry has much to rec­om­mend it for ages 4 – 6 but should be pre-read with care for suit­abil­i­ty before purchase.

Marge Kaplan is a retired Eng­lish as a Sec­ond Lan­guage teacher. She is a con­sul­tant for the children’s lit­er­a­ture group for the Roseville, MN school sys­tem and is a sto­ry­teller of Jew­ish tales.

Discussion Questions