Larry Neinstein calls upon his experiences as a grandfather and a cantor in writing this book. Bella is a curious young lady who wants to know why her “Zeide” is wearing white sneakers on Yom Kippur. Each time she asks the question, Zeide explains another aspect of the Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur holiday season in simple straightforward language. Younger children will be drawn to listen to the explanations of the challah, apples, etc. in anticipation of the response to Bella’s initial question, “Why are you wearing white tennis shoes on Yom Kippur?” The book concludes with Zeide explaining the simplicity of Yom Kippur and the need to focus on family and friends.
The watercolor images created by Bubar are realistic and bright. Bella’s and Zeide’s shoes are a recurring visual throughout the book, intertwined with round challah, apples and honey, immigrants, and more. The synagogue scene has only males leading the service. In the tallit- and kipah-wearing congregation, there are what appear to be two females, but may also be two men with long hair, making it applicable to all denominations.
Recommended for ages 4 – 7.