Talia and the Rude Vegetables

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Talia's grandmother asks her to pick seven root vegetables from the garden for a Rosh Hashanah recipe. Mishearing her, the child seeks out "rude" vegetables, creatively interpreting the plants' awkward shapes as misbehavior. In the process, she sets aside the unwanted perfect produce and does a mitzvah by donating it to feed the hungry. This is a book of missed opportunity. It starts out strong, as Talia ponders the meaning of the Jewish New Year: asking forgiveness for misdeeds and promising to do better. This theme is reinforced by her thoughts on the first few veggies; for instance, an ornery onion that is difficult to dig up "won't do what it's told," and a garishly purple garlic bulb "seems like a big show-off." However, the story is weakened by Talia's explanations petering out halfway through, and by the lack of explicit redemption for these rude vegetables (being cooked into delicious stew could make up for their supposed bad behavior, but this is never made clear). In an anticlimactic ending, the story stops before the vegetables are even cooked, and readers never find out whether Talia learned anything from her mistake. A recipe for vegetable stew is included.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Young Talia's grandmother asks her to go to the garden and bring back seven root vegetables for a stew to welcome Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Hearing "rude vegetables," Talia wonders what they are. She digs up each requested vegetable but when it seems "perfect," she puts it aside in a basket. When it doesn't—like the ornery onion that will not pull up—she decides it is "rude" and puts it in the pot for the stew. This is also the fate of the show-off garlic, the twisted carrot, the terrible turnip, the lumpy potatoes, the ugly parsnip, and the "rude-abagas." Talia takes the basket with the good vegetables she found to the rabbi, who will give them to a family for a sweet New Year. Her grandmother laughs at Talia's mistake as they prepare for the New Year holiday together, but is glad that she has helped the hungry. Assirelli visualizes the simple text in simplified, solid forms. Talia is shown on the cover in a solid brown garden, pulling at the tops of a huge carrot. There is a stillness to the clear blue sky and unadorned house with a row of flowers in front. Talia's sketchy face hardly changes expression as she is frequently dwarfed by the vegetables. Readers should enjoy the sly humor and may be tempted to try the included recipe for "Rude Vegetable Stew." Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews

A little girl's misunderstanding, the harvesting of some root vegetables and a recipe for stew merge for an amusing Jewish New Year story.

Talia, a city girl, is visiting her grandmother, who tells her to "bring back seven root vegetables" from the garden. Hearing "rude" for "root," the confused child ponders over this while she proceeds to find her perception of rude veggies in an ornery onion, a garish garlic, a crooked carrot, a terrible turnip, lumpy bumpy potatoes, big ugly parsnips and "rude-abagas...definitely rude." Pleased with how well she has satisfied Grandma's request, Talia decides to donate the other perfectly nice vegetables to the Rabbi as a mitzvah for a poor family. The narrative, with its recurring theme of "what Grandma wants," is matched well to Assirelli's illustrations. Their terra-cotta and earthy hues combine with deep purple and olive-green tones for kitchen and backyard scenes. Talia's round face is drawn with thin lines detailing expressions of surprise, pleasure and the exertion of digging and pulling. Marshall incorporates many new words to extend the term "rude" while at the same time allowing youngsters, who will soon realize Talia's mix-up, to learn the names of the various root vegetables.

A charming fall story loosely structured by Judaic concepts. (recipe) (Picture book. 4-6)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761352181
  • Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/28/2011
  • Series: High Holidays Series
  • Pages: 24
  • Sales rank: 787,081
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.20 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 29, 2011

    Highly Recommended - Good lessons for children

    Highly recommended for children. Even though the story occurs on Rosh Hashana, it has some valuable lessons for any time of year. Very clever writing with illustrations to match.

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