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Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite
A Gefilte Fishy Tale by Allison and Wayne Marks, and illustrated by Renée Andriani, is an amusing and colorful story for children. It’s Friday morning, Shabbos (the Sabbath) is coming, and Bubbe (meaning Grandma) Judy plans to serve her grandson Jack’s favorite yummy dish —gefilte fish—for dinner. But the lid is stuck on the jar! Everyone in the neighborhood has a go at trying to remove the stubborn thing – methods include a monkey wrench, the dentist’s pliers, karate chops, blasting it with a hairdryer, magic, hypnosis, and just about every kind of tugging, pulling, gripping and walloping you can imagine. But nothing works…until, that is, young Jack has a brilliant idea.
I love the humor in A Gefilte Fishy Tale. Allison and Wayne Marks have created an amusing and entertaining story that will keep young story lovers engaged from start to end. There is a lovely traditional family and community tone to the tale, with Grandma and Jack looking forward to the family weekly gathering for the special Shabbos meal. A comical urgency is conveyed with every turn of the page, and everyone in the community is willing to offer help and ideas that might solve the problem. I had to laugh at some of the methods and was really hoping one of the last resorts (hypnosis) would do the trick. But no, and how lovely that it is young Jack and a very special idea that works in the end. There is a message here for children that sometimes it is the simplest thing will achieve the desired result. A little politeness and appreciation can go a long way. A Yiddish-English glossary opens the book, as the authors sprinkle some Yiddish words throughout the story.
Renée Andriani’s illustrations on every page really complement the story perfectly and bring the characters and plot alive. They are beautifully created, colorful, appealing, and full of humor. There is a lot going on in the illustrations, so lots to talk about when the story is shared together. I love the little dog who appears on most pages observing the antics of the humans and finally joining in on the celebrations. The book ends with a recipe for gefilte fish muffins and a music sheet with words and lyrics. A Gefilte Fishy Tale is an entertaining, educational story with a good message, and makes a very worthy addition to any child’s home or class library. Recommended.