The Last Place You Look

J. Wal­lace Skel­ton; Justin Alves, illus.
  • Review
By – July 5, 2018

A live­ly, diverse fam­i­ly cel­e­brates Passover at the home of Bub­bie Rose and Bub­bie Ida Flo­ra. Every­one par­tic­i­pates and has a grand time, but when it comes time to eat the afikom­e­nat the end of the meal, it’s nowhere to be found. All the chil­dren enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly join the search, turn­ing up many inter­est­ing objects, but the afikomen is still miss­ing. Bub­bie Rose assures the chil­dren it will be in the last place they look, and sure enough it is found — even if a bit crushed — and the fam­i­ly is able to con­tin­ue the seder with joy.

The publisher’s mis­sion is to pro­duce fem­i­nist, racial­ly-diverse, LGBTQ-pos­i­tive chil­dren’s books. They ful­fill this goal with sub­tle­ty and finesse; the mes­sage is clear but does­n’t get in the way of the fun and charm­ing sto­ry. It man­i­fests pri­mar­i­ly in the bright­ly col­ored, cheer­ful illus­tra­tions by show­ing a fam­i­ly with a vari­ety of skin tones, sex­u­al pref­er­ences, and indi­vid­ual styles of dress, includ­ing some who wear kip­pot. The apart­ment belongs to both bub­bies, and they seem to be a long-estab­lished, lov­ing cou­ple. One fam­i­ly mem­ber has a guide dog, and the chil­dren’s names reflect a vari­ety of back­grounds. There are oth­er sub­tle but clear evi­dences of a hap­py melange of fam­i­ly accep­tance, and the tone is warm through­out. The dec­la­ra­tion at the end of a tra­di­tion­al seder, usu­al­ly trans­lat­ed as next year in Jerusalem” is writ­ten in Hebrew. This book fills a gap for those look­ing for LGBTQ-pos­i­tive mate­ri­als for children.

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 5 to 8.

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.

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