A Holiday to Crow About

Children - Picture Book
54 Pages
Reviewed on 11/02/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

'Chag sameach' is Hebrew for happy holiday. A Sukkah is a temporary shelter whose roof is mostly covered with branches. When Jewish families celebrate Sukkot every autumn, they are remembering the 40-year journey of the Jewish nation when they searched for the Promised Land after leaving Egypt and slavery behind. It’s a week-long celebration of family, friends and lots of good, traditional foods. The Mindel family is preparing for the special celebration. The two children, Shelley and Jimmy, help and learn more about this special celebration. Shelley, the older sibling, explains things to her younger brother. Everything’s well planned, but sometimes things don't go as planned and that leaves everyone with a myriad of memories, some funny, some sweet. Just ask the rooster, who really has something to crow about.

Margie Blumberg’s picture book, Sukkah-Doodle-Doo! A Holiday to Crow About, is a heartwarming and sometimes humorous family story to help prepare young people for a special holiday celebration. It’s also educational, as not only will Jewish children learn more about their history and traditions but so too will non-Jewish children. The story is told in simple language so young readers can easily follow along. The story is in rhyming verse, which adds a lyrical quality. The illustrations are full of life and color; some of the pages are almost graphic in the layout with multiple pictures and text both in and around the images.

The story covers all the traditional elements of this celebration: having a party for family and friends, preparing good, nourishing traditional foods, construction of the sukkah and learning what it signifies, and lots of conversation, laughter and singing. At the end of the book are two recipes so young readers can learn and enjoy some of the traditional foods served at Sukkot. There are also two songs—music and lyrics. And finally, there is a glossary of terms, complete with​ pronunciations and backgrounds on the words and their origins. Sukkah-Doodle-Doo! is an engaging read as well as educational.

Marta Tandori

Inspired by a story by Kay Kantor Pomerantz, Sukkah-Doodle-Do! A Holiday to Crow About by Margie Blumberg is a lovely and informative picture book about the Jewish Sukkot celebration. It’s autumn and the Mindel family has sent out invitations to family and friends for a Sukkot celebration of eating, talking, and singing. The parents set about building the outdoor Sukkah, while Shelley and her brother, Jimmy, gather leafy twigs that will be used to cover its roof, along with making glittery letters and paper chains, which the children have fun creating. Everyone helps with the baking and the children set the table. When the big day finally arrives and all their guests have assembled, the Mindels suddenly realize that they have a few unexpected – and unwanted – guests!

Children need to learn from an early age that not every person or family is the same, nor are they from the same religion or celebrating the same holidays and traditions. While family traditions may be different, they are nevertheless special as each is associated with certain foods and ceremonies, commemorated with family and friends. Margie Blumberg provides a wonderful insight into the Jewish Sukkot celebration in which even the youngest members of the family are encouraged to participate. The back of the book includes a helpful glossary of some Hebrew and Yiddish words that are relevant to the story, information about Sukkot, NEW lyrics to the tunes of "Give My Regards to Broadway" and "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," and even recipes for Shelley’s noodle kugel and Nana Sarah Mindel's mandel bread.

This story serves to demonstrate how traditions become enduring, passed down from generation to generation. Lyon's colorful illustrations bring Blumberg’s story to life, giving it a three-dimensional vibrancy. You can’t help but become caught up in the Mindel family’s preparations as they build and decorate their sukkah and then bake and cook for their guests. Sukkah-Doodle-Doo! enriches our understanding of the traditions we all hold dear while celebrating the diversity of other cultures.

Philip Van Heusen

If you are Jewish, you know what Sukkot is and why it is celebrated. And if you are a goy (i.e., a non-Jewish person), you will enjoy learning about this important Jewish holiday. Sukkot occurs in September/October every year as a week-long time of remembering the wandering in the wilderness for forty years. Margie Blumberg shares this special celebration with us in Sukkah-Doodle-Doo! A Holiday to Crow About. The book views this time through the eyes of children. Unfortunately, too many children only know about their own festivals. But it is desirable to teach them about other cultures, too. Margie writes in a style that is both entertaining and educational. Your children will enjoy the illustrations and the story, which is an excellent and vital introduction to Jewish holidays. Use this book as a starting point to teach your children about other religions and cultures.

Why would someone with a perfectly good house spend a week living in a booth in their backyard every year? If you know Jewish history, you know the answer to this question, but this book is for you even if it is not familiar. Children who celebrate this Jewish holiday will know the story of their ancestors leaving Egypt and wandering in the wilderness before they were led to the Promised Land. Even if you have heard the story, do you know what special treats are included during the festival? Not only will you learn about kugel and mandel bread, but you will also find recipes. Be sure to participate in learning about this holiday by making your own dishes. Many thanks to Margie Blumberg for sharing this holiday with us in Sukkah-Doodle-Doo!