by Emily Jenkins
School Library Journal PreS-Gr 3-Four-year-old Gertie, the youngest of five sisters growing up on the Lower East Side of New York City in the beginning of the 20th century, is frustrated that she can't help prepare the potato latkes for the first night of Hanukkah. Charlotte gets to peel the potatoes and Sarah grates them; Henny chops the onions; and Mama cracks the eggs and adds the salt and matzo meal. Big sister Ella picks up Gertie so she can see the two big frying pans hiss and smoke on the stove, but Mama is afraid that the grease will spit and burn her and sends Gertie to her room. Discouraged and angry, Gertie hides under the bed until Papa comes home and lures her out with gingersnaps. Though she isn't old enough to help make the latkes, she is old enough to help Papa light the menorah. And at dinner, Mama gives Gertie the first latke to try and it tastes "of history and freedom, of love and crispy potato." Zelinsky's expressive and textured illustrations done in yellow, blue, and red earth tones with thick, bold lines perfectly capture the love and warmth of a large family despite the modest and overcrowded living quarters. The back matter also provides information about Sydney Taylor, the author of the original All-of-a-Kind Family (first published in 1951), life on the Lower East Side, and additional background about Hanukkah. VERDICT While readers need not be familiar with the classic series, generations of parents who grew up with this unforgettable immigrant family will certainly welcome this new picture book as the perfect way to introduce these memorable characters to the next generation of readers.-Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list *Starred Review* The All-of-a-Kind Family gets new life in this handsome picture book that captures the charm of the classic middle-grade series. As with those books, about a Jewish family living on the Lower East Side of New York City at the turn of the last century, this brings readers close to the step-stair sisters Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and the four-year-old star of this book, Gertie. The family is getting ready for Hanukkah, which means lots of cleaning and cooking. Especially labor intensive are the potato latkes, the pancakes that are the culinary centerpiece of the festivities. But Gertie is too young to peel the potatoes or chop the onions. And the more she's not allowed to do, the angrier she gets, until a total meltdown ensues. Gertie is sent to her room. She hides under the bed until Papa saves the day and Gertie joins the family, just in time to say the blessings and enjoy a latke. Without concentrating too much on the details of the Hanukkah story, Jenkins captures the warmth the holiday engenders. Zelinsky does a masterful job with the artwork, drawing with bold strokes that have energy and emotion. Adults, especially those who love the original books, will appreciate his note, which details how he decided on the rough style he chose for his art. Here's hoping for more adventures starring these exceptional sisters.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2018 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Horn Book This original story based on Sydney Taylor's characters is a perfect standalone Hanukkah read, or an inviting introduction to the All-of-a-Kind Family series. Four-year-old Gertie wants to help her older sisters prepare the holiday latkes. A tantrum ensues from left-out Gertie, but eventually she helps Papa light the menorah. Cozy present-tense text and thick-lined, expressive, color-saturated illustrations capture the loving family's happy bustle amid well-researched period details. Bib., glos. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly When two top picture book talents (the team behind the Toys Go Out series) introduce a new generation to Sydney Taylor's classic stories of Jewish family life on the Lower East Side, it's what's known in Yiddish as a mechaye-something that gives great joy. The year is 1912, and Gertie, the youngest of five sisters, throws a tantrum after being told she's too little to be included in the Hanukkah preparations: "No, Mäusele," says Mama when Gertie wants to use the potato peeler, "It's too sharp." Sent to the communal bedroom for a time-out, Gertie sulks, then worries she'll miss Hanukkah altogether. But with some sweet, timeless Papa humor and an important responsibility-lighting the first night's candle-the girl feels welcomed back into the family fold. Jenkins captures a wealth of feelings with a few understated words: "The latkes taste of history and freedom, of love and crispy potato." Zelinsky's warm-toned, rough-hewn pictures and intimate perspectives give readers a sense of both the close quarters of tenement life and the unbreakable bonds that made immigrant Jewish families so resilient. Ages 3-7. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus The first night of Hanukkah brings initial disappointment but finally great happiness to the youngest of the family.It is 1912 on New York City's Lower East Side, and two sisters are hurrying home to their family to prepare for Hanukkah. Gertie is especially eager because Mama will be making potato pancakesa once-a-year treat for her "all of a kind" five daughters. At 4, the youngest, Gertie wants to help her older sisters, but Mama will not let her peel or grate the potatoes, chop the onions, or fry the pancakes in the schmaltz, triggering a tantrum. After Gertie's fit of anger, Mama takes her daughter to the bedroom, where she hides under the bed. It is Papa, a very wise father indeed, who knows what to say and how to make Gertie feel so special. She will recite the blessings with Papa and light the first candle. A festive dinner of chicken and latkes for the entire family follows. Writing with the support of the Sydney Taylor Foundation, Jenkins expertly captures the warm family spirit of the classic books and their time for a new generation of readers. Zelinsky's digital artwork brilliantly evokes the crowded but cozy tenement world of the early 20th century, while his use of perspective lovingly draws readers into the drama.Share this joyous holiday tale of a Jewish immigrant family all year long. (glossary, author's note, illustrator's note, link to latke recipe, sources) (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.