Earlier this week Laurel Snyder blogged on writing a book about inclusion and diversity and the job of being Jewish. She is the author of the picture book Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher.
Once I saw David Goldin’s wonderful pictures of Baxter, I immediately fell in love with the little pig. Then I began to imagine where his further adventures might take him. But trying to write a sequel actually feels pretty difficult to me.
I mean, is Baxter actually becoming Jewish? How far can I take that?
The thing about Baxter is that he’s clueless, a total outsider, and so he has the advantage of being able to ask any question without feeling bad about himself for not knowing something. Baxter doesn’t feel ashamed of his lack of Hebrew. Why should he? Think of him as a toddler — a non-Jewish toddler, wandering through a Jewish world. He’s the ultimate simple son!
So in some sense, any Jewish experience he has will be fun, and educational.
In Baxter’s Hole‑y Hut, I imagine Baxter might be confused to discover a building with a roof full of holes, and so (being a helpful pig) take to hammering a solid roof on the thing, only to be scolded in the morning. In this way he (and the reader) might learn how to make a sukkah (and why it’s made that way).
In Baxter and the Magical Clothesline, Baxter might try to dry his undergarments, and then find he’s stumbled into an eruv. Of course, Baxter would have no idea what that was, and try over and over again to grasp the concept (with which I’m struggling myself, to be honest).
In Baxter’s Big Bat Mitzvah, Baxter might be informed (by a 12-year-old girl) about the importance of proper attire, and forget his studies in the hunt for a lovely gown, only to find himself floundering on the big day.
In Fast, Baxter, Fast! I think Baxter probably gets invited to celebrate Yom Kippur, and accepts the invitation, though he thinks he’s being invited to a race. When he shows up in a track suit, antics ensue.
Other suggestions that have been made are that Baxter should try his luck at Jewish overnight camp, and that he should visit Israel. But my brilliant friend Jenn has suggested the best sequel so far, which takes things in a whole new direction: Moishe, the Brisket That Wished to Be Treif.
What about you — any suggestions for the next Baxter book?