Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review: THE SHABBAT PRINCESS by Amy Meltzer

Meltzer, Amy. The Shabbat Princess. Illus. Martha Aviles. Minneapolis: Kar-Ben (Lerner), 2011. ISBN 0-7613-5142-9. $17.95.

This isn’t your typical spoiled princess book; you know the contemporary fairy tale versions in which Cinderella becomes a princess without paying any dues first. Contemporary princess just stamps her little feet and gets what she wants.

Nope, this book shows a family working/playing together to make Shabbat even more special by inviting not only the Queen of Shabbat (Shabbat itself is the Queen) but also the princess, none other than the little girl who loves Shabbat but wonders why there’s no princess. She and her parents all contribute to making their little girl the princess by finding dress-up clothes, taking out their best candlesticks, polishing the silver, and having the first of some very special Friday nights. The little girl might wish for diamond decorations but is very happy with what the family can provide.

This lovely story is enhanced by warm, colorful illustrations, notably depicting not fair-skinned Ashkenazi Jews but brown-tone Mexican Jews, reminding us all of the geographical and cultural reach of Judaism.

Alida Allison

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