A Gefilte Fishy Tale

Children - Picture Book
49 Pages
Reviewed on 10/13/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite

A Gefilte Fishy Tale by Allison and Wayne Marks, and illustrated by Renée Andriani, is an amusing and colorful story for children. It’s Friday morning, Shabbos (the Sabbath) is coming, and Bubbe (meaning Grandma) Judy plans to serve her grandson Jack’s favorite yummy dish —gefilte fish—for dinner. But the lid is stuck on the jar! Everyone in the neighborhood has a go at trying to remove the stubborn thing – methods include a monkey wrench, the dentist’s pliers, karate chops, blasting it with a hairdryer, magic, hypnosis, and just about every kind of tugging, pulling, gripping and walloping you can imagine. But nothing works…until, that is, young Jack has a brilliant idea.

I love the humor in A Gefilte Fishy Tale. Allison and Wayne Marks have created an amusing and entertaining story that will keep young story lovers engaged from start to end. There is a lovely traditional family and community tone to the tale, with Grandma and Jack looking forward to the family weekly gathering for the special Shabbos meal. A comical urgency is conveyed with every turn of the page, and everyone in the community is willing to offer help and ideas that might solve the problem. I had to laugh at some of the methods and was really hoping one of the last resorts (hypnosis) would do the trick. But no, and how lovely that it is young Jack and a very special idea that works in the end. There is a message here for children that sometimes it is the simplest thing will achieve the desired result. A little politeness and appreciation can go a long way. A Yiddish-English glossary opens the book, as the authors sprinkle some Yiddish words throughout the story.

Renée Andriani’s illustrations on every page really complement the story perfectly and bring the characters and plot alive. They are beautifully created, colorful, appealing, and full of humor. There is a lot going on in the illustrations, so lots to talk about when the story is shared together. I love the little dog who appears on most pages observing the antics of the humans and finally joining in on the celebrations. The book ends with a recipe for gefilte fish muffins and a music sheet with words and lyrics. A Gefilte Fishy Tale is an entertaining, educational story with a good message, and makes a very worthy addition to any child’s home or class library. Recommended.

Jack Magnus

A Gefilte Fishy Tale is a children's picture book written by Allison and Wayne Marks and illustrated by Renee Andriani. Bubbe Judy knows exactly what her grandson Jack's favorite food is -- gefilte fish. The two of them went to the Kosher Mart and bought a large glass jar filled with the fishy treats. When she brought it home, however, she was dismayed to find that she just couldn't get the lid off, no matter how hard she tried and what method she used. Zayde used the spoon thumping technique and tried clamping it in a vise, but nothing seemed to be working. The local bodybuilder figured he'd have no problem opening the bottle, but, no, even his super strength was no match for that stubborn lid. Bubbe and Zayde asked for help from all sorts of people: the dentist, an inventor, even an auto mechanic, and every one of them failed to open the jar. Finally it was dinnertime, and Bubbe Judy's guests had all arrived. They all assured her that they'd get that pesky lid off in no time at all, but would they be able to?

Allison and Wayne Marks' children's picture book, A Gefilte Fishy Tale, is a hilarious look at the problem just about everyone has encountered at some time in their lives -- prying loose a lid that just doesn't want to open. The authors' story is comical and infinitely entertaining, and illustrator, Renee Andriani's artwork is inspired. I can still see the riotous panel where the struggling dentist roars at the bottle to open wide, and everyone in the room follows his instructions. Included in A Gefilte Fishy Tale is a Yiddish glossary and pronunciation guide, a recipe for Gefilte Fish Mini Muffins and an original song with lyrics and musical score written for the piano. This is a book that's truly designed to entertain children and adults alike, and it does so in grand, and very funny, fashion. A Gefilte Fishy Tale is most highly recommended.

Carla Trueheart

A Gefilte Fishy Tale by authors Allison and Wayne Marks is a unique children’s book with a fun theme that should please both children and adults alike! This adorable book opens with a glossary filled with Yiddish words in case the reader is not familiar with some of the terms used in the book. The young reader will learn the meaning behind such words as mazel tov, kugel, bubbe, challah, and oy! After that begins the tale of the jar of gefilte fish that will not open. The family is looking forward to the gefilte fish, but because the jar is stuck, an adventure begins to find someone in town who can open the jar. The family visits a mechanic and a dentist, among others in town, and enlists the help of their family members. They even ask a bodybuilder to open the jar. Everyone tries and tries, but the jar just won’t open!

Throughout A Gefilte Fishy Tale, authors Allison and Wayne Marks have sprinkled Yiddish words, making the book not only fun but also educational. As an adult reader, I picked up some of the language and enjoyed the journey to open the pesky jar of gefilte fish. The book is beautifully illustrated as well, with pictures that add much to the story and keep the tale going for a young reader. The language is easy and fun, with rhymes that are both clever and humorous. The book concludes with a recipe for gefilte fish muffins and even a song called Shabbat a Lot. There is much to love about this book, and it is highly recommended for all children or adult readers who want to share the fun adventure with their children, grandchildren, or other youngsters in their lives!