ASIN: B01K3I5MI8 | Charesbridge | Jennifer Black Reinhardt
Rabbi Benjamin’s Buttons
As a sign of affection for their warm-hearted rabbi, the families of the congregation make Rabbi Benjamin a special holiday vest, complete with four shiny silver buttons. Throughout the year Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot, Chanukah, and Passover the rabbi celebrates with his congregation, unable to resist their delicious home-cooked food. But with each holiday his vest grows tight, tighter, until . . . POP!
Starred Review, Publisher's Weekly – August, 2014: Rabbi Benjamin and his congregation are besotted with one another, but when the community presents its leader with a yellow-gold vest to wear on holidays, decorated with four shiny silver buttons, they neglect to factor in one thing: Jewish holidays mean lots of irresistible, calorie- and emotion-laden Jewish cooking. As the rabbi grows increasingly portly at various dinners, it’s clear to both him and his attentive dog that the vest and its silver buttons are not engineered to expand. Oy-yoy-yoy! You don’t have to be Jewish to love this marvelously funny, wholly original story about the intersection of faith, food, and families—in fact, it’s got a wrap-up that Michelle Obama would applaud: Rabbi Benjamin discovers that a regimen of community-centered exercise (like helping one family plant a Sukkot garden) can work wonders. McGinty’s (Gandhi: A March to the Sea) loving, lighthearted prose is as sunshiny as her characters, while Reinhardt’s (The Adventures of a South Pole Pig) detailed watercolors depict a diverse congregation brimming with endearing idiosyncrasies and mutual affection—a real mishpochah. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Marietta B. Zacker, Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. (Aug.)