Brownand green tops
BROW N-CAPPED CONSTRUCTION workers eating ryebread sandwiches; seltzer stands in the street, Hebrew posters in faintly familiar (but strangely undeveloped) streets…it is 1936 and Uri sits, bored, in his parents’ deli in Tel Aviv, unaware he is soon to attend the first performance of the future Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, escorted by his German-speaking grandma. A Concert in the Sand,
by Tami ShemTov and Rachella Sandbank (KarBen, £6.50) is textheavy for a picture book, so would suit a five- to seven-year-old, while Avi Ofer’s detailed crowd scenes are almost a historical Where’s Wally?
Grandma turns teacher again in Talia and the Haman-tushies by Linda Elovitz Marshall (Kar-Ben, £6.50). Talia mishears her and thinks edible posteriors are on the menu – yuck! (Parents, be prepared to translate the joke.)
As they cook, Grandma tells the Purim story, which is folded into the baking activities as smoothly as sugar into margarine. Francesca Assirelli’s illustrations area joy, especially Grandma, beaming so roundly that the bridge of her specs is stretched to a foot long. Luckily, the tushie misunderstanding is cleared up in time for Talia to taste the ham ant as chen. Giggles guaranteed for ages three to five.
“Underline the verb in this sentence: The verb scored a goal. Where do the knives and forks go on a times table?” Malcolm and his best mate, Cracker snack er, face senseless questions as they blunder through their schooldays, attempting to evade irascible Uncle Gobb. Michael Rosen continually interrupts Uncle Gobb and the Green Heads (Bloomsbury, £9.99) with bites of weasel wisdom, insights into baked beans and emphatically announced flash backs. There are sudden CAPITAL S, surprising two-sentence chapter s–every storytelling rule is gleefully stomped on. And there is a pleasing mini-biography of Edward Lear, whose verdant-topped Jumblies feature in the title. Making reading fun, for ages six to 11. On Blackberry Hill by Rachel Mann (CreateSpace, £7.99) finds teenage Reena feeling abandoned at a Jewish summer camp where her late mother, Naomi, was once a counsellor. Mother’s and daughter’s stories are interwoven, with boy troubles and family struggles in each case, linked by a mysterious religious messenger. A gentle coming-of-age story, with an afikomen-hiding scene that sticks in the memory. Age 11 to 15.