Strudel Stories

Overview

A lively and evocative novel full of sweet, sad, and funny moments in the history of a Jewish family.

Imagine a cozy kitchen in another time and place. A family is baking apple strudel together, and while they work, they tell each other stories of the past—the cherished stories of their family history. There is the boy who danced with ghosts, the greatest baseball moment ever, and the almost-a-disaster day. There are stories of braving war, of...
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Overview

A lively and evocative novel full of sweet, sad, and funny moments in the history of a Jewish family.

Imagine a cozy kitchen in another time and place. A family is baking apple strudel together, and while they work, they tell each other stories of the past—the cherished stories of their family history. There is the boy who danced with ghosts, the greatest baseball moment ever, and the almost-a-disaster day. There are stories of braving war, of daring the difficulties of immigration, and of enjoying the simple pleasures of friendship and sports—stories of joy and sadness, mistakes and triumphs, courage and love.

This warm and intimate novel is an inspiring portrait of a truly memorable family.

Seven generations of a Jewish family hear stories of their family history, all told while making apple strudel.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her tender collection of connected vignettes, Rocklin (For Your Eyes Only) identifies the secret ingredient for the strudel prized by generations of a Jewish family: the family stories that accompany the baking. The book begins in 1999, when Lori and Jessica's Grandpa Willy has just died. The sisters decide that one way to keep Willy's memory alive is to bake a strudel--and retell the tales he often shared with them. So as the apples get peeled, the narrative flashes back to the time of Willy's great-grandmother, Sarah, who lived in Russia and then came to America with her children in the early 1900s. Sarah tells how she helped outwit the angel of death when he came looking for her younger brother ("He was small and skinny, like a cucumber for pickling"), then recounts her brother's various exploits. Sarah's daughter and Willy carry on the tradition, adding stories of immigrant life in New York City and of WWII to the mix, and so on. Though readers may have some difficulty keeping track of who's who (a family tree at the end helps), they will readily dig into the colorful, sometimes dramatic anecdotes. Rocklin writes with flair and with heart--and for the truly inspired, she includes three generations of strudel recipes--Sarah's in Yiddish, Lori and Jessica's using frozen filo dough. A treat no matter how you slice it. Ages 8-12. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Jackie Hechtkopf
In this nostalgic collection of stories, three generations of strudel makers share personal histories with children of the next generation. These stories are presented as the secret ingredient to an excellent homemade strudel. In Sarah's kitchen, we hear tales of Eastern European Jewry involving a little boy who cheated death twice. In Bertie's kitchen, we hear about the immigration of a little girl who had the courage to turn her coat inside out when the feared Ellis Island medical inspector marked her with the dreaded chalk "X." Willy, a grandfather with a gift in the kitchen and a huge love for baseball, tells about the orphaned refugee boy accepted into his family after the Holocaust. Classroom teachers could use this book as a resource for an immigration unit. The stories are very sweet, like the pastry they are named for. Several segments discuss the mechanics of strudel making and depict children helping in the kitchen, waiting to be entertained by stories.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
"Without stories the strudel will be a big fat flop," advises Grandpa Willy. He relates family stories while he recreates, from original recipes, the flaky apple strudel that his granddaughters adore. The stories bring seven generations of a Jewish family to life. We are provided with a rich slice of life as we dip into the lives of relatives from Polish shtetls to new immigrants. From Leon, a survivor of World War II, we understand why he loves strudel but can't eat it because of the sad memories it recalls. But the luscious pastry and his story add to the family's appreciation of their heritage. Yes, Leon learns to enjoy strudel again. This savory read-aloud will serve as inspiration for children to share their stories and their "security blanket" foods. Recipes included.
Library Journal
Gr 2-5-Beginning in the old country and ending in modern-day America, a cherished recipe is passed from one generation to the next, including the most important ingredient-the tales told by the cooks. The stories are sweetened with humor and sprinkled with unforgettable characters. (Jan.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786227709
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 2/28/2001
  • Pages: 102
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.68 (w) x 8.67 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Joanne Rocklin, the author of over a dozen children's books, including The Very Best Hanukkah Gift, is a former psychologist and elementary school teacher.
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Read an Excerpt

An Excerpt from Strudel Stories
"Stories now, Mama?" Isaac asks.
Sarah nods and picks up her mending. Baby Bertha wakes up. Hannah, listening to her mother's stories, holds the baby on her knee. Isaac makes a tower on the floor with the walnut shells, listening too.
Sarah's stories enter the warm oven, smoothing the sugar. As the strudel bakes, the stories tuck themselves between the apple slices. Later, when Hannah and Isaac eat the strudel, it seems they can taste those stories. Stories about Jonah, cheerfully stepping from the belly of a whale. Stories about Moses, striding the floor of the Red Sea.
And stories that grow from a question.
"Did your mama bake strudel when you were a little girl?" Isaac asks.
"Ah," says Sarah, stirring cherry preserves into her tea, "when I was a little girl . . . "

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