Talia and the Rude Vegetables

illustrated by Francesca Assirelli

© 2011, Kar-Ben Publishing.

Talia’s grandmother is making her family a stew to welcome in the New Year. She has asked Talia to go to the garden and “bring back seven root vegetables.” But Talia hears “rude” instead of “root” and wonders, how she will know if a vegetable has been rude?

As Talia digs up the vegetables – onions, garlic, carrots, turnips, potatoes, parsnips and rutabagas (is your mouth watering yet?) – she remembers times when her behavior has perhaps not been at its best and knows this is the time of year she needs to make some apologies to her family members. When Talia unearths a an “onery onion,” she puts that one in the pot, sending the perfectly round onion to the basket. She does the same for the “garish garlic,” “crooked carrot,” “terrible turnip,” well, you get the message. All the “rude” vegetables go to the pot for her family’s stew. The nice, perfect vegetables go in the basket, which Talia delivers to the rabbi to give to a family who may need it.

Talia’s mistake turns out fine in the end, for a vegetable is a vegetable after all. “Very sweet like you,” says her grandmother, because Talia had done a mitzvah by giving the extra basket of vegetables to the rabbi.

This is a charming book for younger children to convey the message of apologizing for our behavior (Teshuvah) at this solemn time of year. It also speaks about Tzedakah in a fun and interesting way.

The illustrations are soft, warm and lovely, while perfectly conveying the efforts Talia must exert to find the vegetables. There is a recipe for “Rude” Vegetable Stew in the back of the book that sounds delicious and may be a featured item on my family table this year

Grade Level: Pre-K – 2nd

Ages: 3-8

©2011 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and forwordsbooks.com all rights reserved.
Books used in this review were provided by my local public library.
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