Perfect Porridge: A Story about Kindness

Overview

Perfect Porridge is a humorous tale, highlighting the value of kindness and giving to others. The plot of this story is based on a true incident that took place in Russia during World War II. To escape the Nazis, Bubbe Hinda and Zayde Mendel fled to Samarkant, an area of southern Russia very close to Asia. Food was rationed and many poor and sick individuals were without food. While Bubbe Hinda collected what she could from people in the bread lines, (as you can read in the author’s book As Big As An Egg,) Zayde ...
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Overview

Perfect Porridge is a humorous tale, highlighting the value of kindness and giving to others. The plot of this story is based on a true incident that took place in Russia during World War II. To escape the Nazis, Bubbe Hinda and Zayde Mendel fled to Samarkant, an area of southern Russia very close to Asia. Food was rationed and many poor and sick individuals were without food. While Bubbe Hinda collected what she could from people in the bread lines, (as you can read in the author’s book As Big As An Egg,) Zayde Mendel stayed home and cooked what little flour and grain their son was able to purchase from the local farmers.

Having absolutely no experience in the kitchen, Zayde Mendel learned on the job. In this tale, based on true events, Bubbe Hinda is kind to the sick, Zayde Mendel is kind to the hungry, and both of them are kind to each other.

The rhythm and repetition in Rochel Sandman’s story makes it ideal for reading aloud to children ages 3-7. It also works well as a book for beginning readers to enjoy on their own. The vibrantly colored artwork of Chana Zakashansky-Zverev perfectly complements the story.

A valuable message, authentic illustrations and classic storytelling make Perfect Porridge a beautiful book for every child to treasure.

From the Backcover
Zayde Mendel wants to do his share of kindness and cook porridge for hungry people during the War. The problem is, as Bubbe Hinda points out, he’s never cooked anything in his life! But Zayde keeps asking, “How hard could it be?” In this humorous tale, based on true events, Bubbe Hinda is kind to the sick, Zayde Mendel is kind to the hungry, and both of them are kind to each other.

About the Author
Rochel Sandman majored in English at a Connecticut university and has written articles and newsletters for various non-profit organizations. She continues to be an active member of Jewish charity groups in her area. The author is presently collecting and recording family stories as a legacy for her children and grandchildren. Many of these tales were originally told to her by her grandmother, Bubbe Hinda Deitsch, ob”m. Perfect Porridge is the second book Rochel has written for Hachai Publishing.

About the Illustrator
Chana Zakashansky-Zverev, a young award-winning illustrator, was born in Kiev, Ukraine. She graduated from the University of Fine Arts in Kiev with a Master’s Degree in graphics and illustration. Chana, also illustrated the author’s other book As Big as an Egg. Since 1992, she has lived in Brooklyn, NY with her family.

When Bubbe Hinda and Zayde Mendel are forced to become refugees in the Soviet Union, they take holy books and generosity with them to their new home.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although rough in its execution and production, this paper-over-board volume serves up a warm story with the overtones of a folktale. Bubbe Hinda and Zayde Mendel (bubbe and zayde are Yiddish for "grandma" and "grandpa") have found safety from "the War" (an endnote explains that the characters' real-life counterparts fled to Samarkant as the Nazis neared their Russian hometown). They offer thanks to Hashem (God) and worry about refugees who have less than themselves. Bubbe Hinda hatches a scheme to assist the sick and the poor, and Zayde Mendel offers to help, forgoing his daytime Torah study in order to cook huge batches of porridge to feed the hungry. In a plot turn similar to that in Eiko Kadono and Satomi Ichikawa's Grandpa's Soup, Mendel forgets to check the grain the first day; the second day, he checks the grain but forgets to light the fire; and so on, until he finally masters the art of perfect porridge. The gently humorous repetition softens the characterizations, and both Hinda and Mendel come across as touching as well as pious. The art is serviceable at best, though, with foreshortening a particular weak spot and compositions that are often static. Readers wanting the homely virtues of the text will have to compromise on the aesthetics. Ages 3-7. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Having fled their war-torn homeland, Bubbe Hinda and Zayde Mendel settle in a town where they are strangers and decide to help those less fortunate than themselves. Bubbe sets out each morning to distribute bread to the sick and offers porridge to the hungry, while Zayde is left at home to cook and study Torah. An inexperienced cook, his effort at making porridge is unsuccessful, but the resourceful Bubbe saves the day and their guests are able to eat and pray together. The text is liberally sprinkled with Ashkenazic Hebrew and Yiddish words that are defined in the notes, which also reveal that this tale is based on the experiences of the author's grandparents in World War II Uzbekistan. The writing style is conversational but the story's message is delivered in a heavy-handed manner, and the illustrations are static and flat, lacking movement or expressive color.-Martha Link, Louisville Free Public Library, KY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780922613922
  • Publisher: Hachai Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/1/2000
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,216,958
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years

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