Review sponsored* by MB Publishing, LLC
The Children’s Book Review | May 30, 2016
Written by Allison and Wayne Marks
Illustrated by Renée Andriani
Age Range: 2-8
Paperback: 52 pages
Publisher: MB PUBLISHING
What to expect: Light-hearted, family adventure, Jewish culture and history
In A Gefilte Fishy Tale, Jack and his grandmother return from the grocery store one Friday morning with his favorite dish for their Shabbat meal: gefilte fish. But the jar of whitefish, carp, and pike won’t open—it has “a dreadful case of liddy-stuck-a-tosis.” The two then trek across town, along with Jack’s grandfather and their lovable dog Butterscotch, as everyone from their dentist to a bodybuilder attempts to open the jar in a romp of futility. Finally, as Shabbat nears—and after the whole family has also tried and failed to open the jar—Jack says the magic word, the jar pops open, and everyone sits down for dinner. The tale is one of community and perseverance, with the little guy ultimately triumphing. Kids will rejoice when one of the youngest and smallest of the bunch comes to the rescue.
Both parents and children will enjoy the book’s poetic rhythm and rhyme, reminiscent of Chris Van Dusen’s Circus Ship and Giles Andreae’s Giraffes Can’t Dance:
Bubbe Judy bought a jar
Of fresh gefilte fish —
The star of every Shabbos,
Her grandson’s favorite dish!
The lyrical text is matched by whimsical illustrations with entertaining facial expressions and discussion-worthy detail throughout.
A Gefilte Fishy Tale contains a playful smattering of Yiddish words, some all but adopted into American English (such as “schlep” as a synonym for “lug”) and others that might be new to readers (like “schvitz” for “sweat”). At the front of the book sits a handy pronunciation guide for the uninitiated. Kids will like watching their parents sound out words, practice new letter combinations and trip over their own tongues: pre-literacy modeling of the highest order.
Though it’s mainly intended for toddlers and beginning readers, slightly older children are sure to enjoy the story and images as well. Add in an original song for Shabbat and a gefilte fish mini-muffin recipe, and A Gefilte Fishy Tale offers lots of amusement—along with some cultural education—for any family.
Add this book to your collection: A Gefilte Fishy Tale
For more information, visit: mbpublishing.com
About Allison and Wayne Marks
Allison and Wayne Marks met in a Canterbury Tales class at the University of Cincinnati while finishing their degrees in English literature. Today, they spend many an afternoon spinning stories of their own as a husband-and-wife writing duo. Allison received her MLS from the University of Kentucky and worked over two decades as the librarian at Temple Israel synagogue in Akron, Ohio. She also spent six years reviewing Jewish children’s books for the Association of Jewish Libraries newsletter. Wayne has worked as a proofreader and copywriter at a North Canton, Ohio, marketing company for 25 years. Allison enjoys reading, journal writing, and filling her urban garden with morning glories, Shasta daisies, and heirloom tomatoes. Wayne plays fiddle in several local bands, sings bass in Akron’s Gaelic choir, and pens novelty tunes, such as the YouTube hit “The Wiener Dog Song.” They are the authors of Og’s Ark (Kar-Ben) and A Gefilte Fishy Tale (MB Publishing). They live in a 100-year-old home in Akron, where they raised twins, Elliott and Claire.
About Renée Andriani
Renée Andriani grew up in Connecticut and has a BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. She works in an array of media, including pen and ink, pencil, dye, watercolor, and digital. Her illustrations appear in numerous children’s books, as well as in magazines and on Hallmark’s Shoebox greeting cards. She also serves as a graphic recorder and graphic facilitator, collaborating with organizations and their teams to create “visual stories” that reflect meetings, brainstorms, and published content. An avid hiker and cookie baker, she draws inspiration from doodling in her sketchbook, being outdoors, and hanging out with funny people. She lives in Kansas with her husband, three teenagers, and two big dogs. Visit http://randriani.carbonmade.com to see more of her work.
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. The publisher of “A Gefilte Fishy Tale,” MB Publishing, LLC, sponsored* this non-biased review. Learn more about getting a book review …