A Sweet Year: A Taste of the Jewish Holidays

Overview

The Jewish year is blessed with many holidays, and each one has its special food. From Rosh Hashanah to Shavuot, from the Seder meal to the Sabbath meal, food celebrates the season and commemorates the miraculous. With lyrical prose and rich, vivid paintings, renowned artist Mark Podwal takes an inspired look at the age-old bond between the sacred and the sumptuous in this glorious gift book for any holiday in the Jewish year.

Pictures and easy-to-read text introduce...

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Overview

The Jewish year is blessed with many holidays, and each one has its special food. From Rosh Hashanah to Shavuot, from the Seder meal to the Sabbath meal, food celebrates the season and commemorates the miraculous. With lyrical prose and rich, vivid paintings, renowned artist Mark Podwal takes an inspired look at the age-old bond between the sacred and the sumptuous in this glorious gift book for any holiday in the Jewish year.

Pictures and easy-to-read text introduce Jewish holidays, focusing on the foods associated with each.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In time for the start of the Jewish year (Rosh Hashanah begins on September 26), Podwal (The Menorah Story) explores the link between Jewish holidays and the foods associated with them. An imaginative series of paintings faces the brief text; in this book's small, gifty trim size, art and text share equal weight, neither dominating the other. Podwal's visual imagery is as metaphorical as his fans have come to expect: an opening illustration, for example, shows four foods tucked into as many envelopes, peeking out like holiday cards. The writing matches the art in eloquence and in its deceptively straightforward concentration of different ideas; Podwal works in definitions of the given holiday, a bit of folklore and a hint of inspiration as well. On Simchat Torah, Podwal writes, "The year's weekly readings of the Torah are finished. And right away begin again. Round carrot slices. Round sandwiches. Round the synagogue seven times. Everything round is a reminder that the reading of Torah has no end." Endnotes and an afterword give more information about the holidays as well as insights into economic or practical origins of the traditions. Of the targeted age group, children who already observe some of the rituals here are the likeliest to enjoy the poetic presentation, and their adult counterparts will probably enjoy it even more. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Although a small size, this is no board book for toddlers but rather an intriguing invitation into a land of mystic symbolism, tidbits of tales, and the beauties of the Jewish holidays. Podwal tells us in his Author's Note that he created the gouache and acrylic paintings in response to an invitation from the Ruth Youth Wing Library of The Israel Museum in Jerusalem before adding the text to make this book. Centered around special foods associated with the holidays, the primitive-style pictures are often symbolic rather than literal so that the reader is not spoon fed but will have to coax out the connections to the text. We are gifted with bits of legend as: On Tu Bi-Shevat, the New Year for Trees, "...according to legend, trees kiss and wish one another a happy new year" and "It is said that at the beginning of every Sabbath, two angels visit each home. To see if it has been made ready for this holy day. And to offer a taste of heaven." Truly a charming book, best read by a loving elder to a thirsty child; both will be enriched. A section explaining customs of the holidays is included at the end. 2003, Doubleday, Ages 5 to 9.
— Judy Chernak
School Library Journal
K-Gr 6-With beautifully crafted poetic text and symbolic paintings in gouache and acrylics, Podwal takes readers on a journey through the Jewish holidays and the foods that are essential elements of each observance and rite. The potato latkes of Hanukkah recall a miracle of lights while honey cakes on Shavuot symbolize the Torah's promise of a "land of milk and honey." Don't expect recipes and crafts. Rather, enjoy the artful and witty illustrations, each of which creates a colorful and fanciful tableau. For the autumn harvest festival of Sukkot, during which families eat in huts "that let the stars shine through," Podwal depicts a solar system of fruits. For Purim, a spring holiday celebrating the time that Esther saved the Persian Jews from Haman, children wear hamantaschen as costumes. A welcome addition to holiday collections.-Susan Pine, New York Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385746373
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/26/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 7.81 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Podwal is the author and illustrator of numerous books and his art has appeared in publications such as The New York Times.
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