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by Jane Yolen ; illustrated by Christine Battuz

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-72840-339-7
Publisher: Kar-Ben

A holiday celebrating a new year should include some new foods, shouldn’t it?

Becca, 5 years old, has straight red hair, pink cheeks, and a determined way of saying “NO!” Her parents are getting ready for the Jewish new year and want Becca to try something new to eat. Papa will have a new look, now sans moustache. Mama will have a new hobby, knitting. Becca should try new foods, perhaps some greens or brisket or chicken soup. Her response is steadfastly negative until, “the biggest green bean ever seen” appears in solitary splendor on her plate. Becca is happy at last, though why this makes a difference when nothing else has goes unexplained. The text centers on Ashkenazic food traditions along with the custom of having or doing something new for the new year. There is no mention, until the brief author’s note, of any religious observances or significance. Families who celebrate the holiday will find little of substance to share. Others will likely come away with no relevant understanding. The cartoon illustrations are colorful and depict an array of traditional foods including apples, but no jar of honey is visible. There is also a marmalade cat who mimics Becca’s facial expressions. The text is in rhythmic quatrains with a second line of repeats that are sometimes awkward to read aloud. “Becca doesn’t eat things green, / never green, ever green. / Not a lettuce leaf or bean. / Especially if they’re new.”

Not a necessary addition to holiday shelves.

(Picture book. 3-5)