Bubbe's Belated Bat Mitzvah

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 08/04/2014
Naomi's 95-year-old great-grandmother Bubbe never had a Bat Mitzvah; she grew up in an era when "girls didn't study Hebrew and weren't called to the Torah." Determined to set that to rights, Naomi persuades Bubbe to celebrate an adult Bat Mitzvah, and she mobilizes all her cousins across the country to lend their talents and ensure that Bubbe's bima appearance garners a resounding "Mazel Tov!" Naomi helps Bubbe practice the Hebrew of her Torah portion and quells the older woman's last-minute nerves, another cousin plays writing coach for the obligatory speech, and so on. Pinson makes an assured authorial debut with a much-needed story about an increasingly common Jewish life cycle ritual. The concise, straightforward prose sidesteps sentimentality while emphasizing Naomi's calm, focused, take-charge style; this girl has future CEO written all over her. Cis's (A Tale of Two Seders) warmhearted acrylic illustrations have naïve touches and recurring circular elements that convey an extended but close-knit family rolling up its collective sleeves on behalf of a beloved matriarch. Ages 3–9. Illustrator's agent: Mela Bolinao, MB Artists. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
Is serenity a narrative problem? Bubbe can't remember how many kippot she's made. She's 95, and she's crocheted a skullcap for every bar and bat mitzvah and wedding in her family. Her great-granddaughter Naomi thinks it's time for Bubbe to have a bat mitzvah ceremony of her own. In some books, this would be a source of tension. Bubbe might struggle with the religious texts. She might argue with people who think a religious service should be led by a man. But this is a book with no conflict. Bubbe decides to learn Hebrew, and she does. Some readers might prefer a book with less harmony and tranquility, and less sedate pacing. But it seems uncharitable, somehow, to wish any struggle or pain on Naomi and her Bubbe, whose account of her descendants' coming-of-age ceremonies is something of a thumbnail history of the evolution of the role of women in Judaism. Cis' illustrations are so expressive that Bubbe's eyes, captured in a few strokes of paint, instantly make her seem both wise and kind. On the day of the bat mitzvah, all the family members are wearing matching kippot, crocheted by Naomi. This is the exact opposite of conflict, and if it's a little dull, it's dull in the most satisfying way possible. No strife necessary: Readers will be content just to have met Bubbe and Naomi. (Picture book. 3-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781467719506
  • Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/28/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 997,146
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 690L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Bubbe's Belated Bat Mitzvah

By Isabel Pinson, Valeria Cis

Kar-Ben Publishing

Copyright © 2014 Isabel Pinson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4677-1949-0


"How many kippot have you made?" I ask Bubbe, as she hands me a crochet hook. "I bet it's a gazillion. You've done them for every Bar and Bat Mitzvah and wedding in the family."

Usually I go home after soccer practice on Sundays, but today my mom dropped me of fat Bubbe's apartment. Bubbe is my great-grandmother, and she's teaching me to crochet.

"I've lost count," Bubbe answers, "but the first one I made was for my brother Charlie's Bar Mitzvah. He studied a whole year with the rabbi so he could read from the Torah. On Shabbat, when he finished reading his portion, everyone tossed candies at him to wish him a sweet life."

"Did you make kippot for your own Bat Mitzvah?" I ask.

"I didn't have a Bat Mitzvah, Naomi. When I was growing up, girls didn't study Hebrew and weren't called to the Torah. I was always sorry I missed that."

That night I think about everything Bubbe told me.

The next Sunday, Bubbe teaches me how to use different colored yarns for crocheting. "Did Grandma Rachel have a Bat Mitzvah?" I ask.

"When your grandma was growing up, girls still didn't read from the Torah, but for her Bat Mitzvah she was allowed to give a speech in the synagogue. She told the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. I remember every word. I was so proud of her."

"Bubbe, I think you should have a Bat Mitzvah," I say. "You'd be great!"


Excerpted from Bubbe's Belated Bat Mitzvah by Isabel Pinson, Valeria Cis. Copyright © 2014 Isabel Pinson. Excerpted by permission of Kar-Ben Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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