Cover image for A sweet year : a taste of the Jewish holidays
A sweet year : a taste of the Jewish holidays
Podwal, Mark H., 1945-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Doubleday Book for Young Readers, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) ; 19 cm
Pictures and easy-to-read text introduce Jewish holidays, focusing on the foods associated with each.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BM690 .P64 2003 Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
BM690 .P64 2003 Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday

On Order



Pictures and easy-to-read text introduce Jewish holidays, focusing on the foods associated with each.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS-Gr. 3. Fanciful images daubed in gouache and acrylics create bright, contemporary symbols of the timeless role food plays in the Jewish holidays. Each page of creative art faces thoughtful, yet economically phrased, text explaining each holiday and the unique customs or legends surrounding the traditional food of the religious observance. An olive branch blossoms into pink dreidels to illustrate Podwal's almost poetic verbal picture of the sights, smells, food, and history surrounding the miraculous vial of olive oil that burns at the heart of Hanukkah festivities. A gargantuan slice of cheesecake looms like Mt. Sinai over tents in the desert, representing the dairy delights served at Shavuot, the commemoration of the Israelites' receiving the Ten Commandments in the wilderness. Additional brief facts and anecdotes complete this compact, yet hugely imaginative, evocation of Jewish observances. --Ellen Mandel Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In time for the start of the Jewish year (Rosh Hashanah begins on September 26), Podwal (The Menorah Story) explores the link between Jewish holidays and the foods associated with them. An imaginative series of paintings faces the brief text; in this book's small, gifty trim size, art and text share equal weight, neither dominating the other. Podwal's visual imagery is as metaphorical as his fans have come to expect: an opening illustration, for example, shows four foods tucked into as many envelopes, peeking out like holiday cards. The writing matches the art in eloquence and in its deceptively straightforward concentration of different ideas; Podwal works in definitions of the given holiday, a bit of folklore and a hint of inspiration as well. On Simchat Torah, Podwal writes, "The year's weekly readings of the Torah are finished. And right away begin again. Round carrot slices. Round sandwiches. Round the synagogue seven times. Everything round is a reminder that the reading of Torah has no end." Endnotes and an afterword give more information about the holidays as well as insights into economic or practical origins of the traditions. Of the targeted age group, children who already observe some of the rituals here are the likeliest to enjoy the poetic presentation, and their adult counterparts will probably enjoy it even more. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 6-With beautifully crafted poetic text and symbolic paintings in gouache and acrylics, Podwal takes readers on a journey through the Jewish holidays and the foods that are essential elements of each observance and rite. The potato latkes of Hanukkah recall a miracle of lights while honey cakes on Shavuot symbolize the Torah's promise of a "land of milk and honey." Don't expect recipes and crafts. Rather, enjoy the artful and witty illustrations, each of which creates a colorful and fanciful tableau. For the autumn harvest festival of Sukkot, during which families eat in huts "that let the stars shine through," Podwal depicts a solar system of fruits. For Purim, a spring holiday celebrating the time that Esther saved the Persian Jews from Haman, children wear hamantaschen as costumes. A welcome addition to holiday collections.-Susan Pine, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.