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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 07, 2012 PAGE 23A By Helen Nash NEW YORK (JTA)--Cook- ing has been a passion for me, and passing on my knowledge and e:cperience to a new kosher audience one of my greatest joys. When my two earlier books were published--"Kosher Cuisine" and "Helen Nash's Kosher Kitchen"--that joy was mingled with r~gret at having to exclude so many more appetizing dishes and ideas about cuisine, nutrition and a healthful approach to everyday meals. At the time, though, I couldn't imagine going back to the arduous process of developing, refin- ing, testing and retesting new recipes. But then a personal tragedy gave me a compelling desire to start working on another book. My husband of five de- cades--a brilliant, visionary, and passionate man with great generosity of spirit--suffered a massive stroke, and for By Penny Schwartz BOSTON (JTA)--A giant googly-eyed fish. mischie- vous magicians arid sukkah- eating squirrels are among the characters in a new crop of engaging Jewish children's books that relate to the obser- vance or themes of the Jewish High Holidays. Here's a rundown of the new books: Oh No. Jonah! Tilda Bals- ley, illustrations by Jago Kar-Ben, $17.95 hardcover; $Z95 paperback; $13.95 eBook Ages 5-10 The story of Jonah read in the synagogue onYom Kippur is retold by award-winning children's writer TildaBalsley in a lively, rhyming beat that will get the kids to listen. When the prophet Jonah refuses God's request to per- suade the people of Nineveh to change their wicked ways, he runs off to a ship, is tossed overboard and swallowed by a big fish. After Jonah prays for forgiveness, the fish spits him onto dry land and Jonah convinces the Ninevites to repent. Balsley's verse, which fea- tures the refrain "Oh No, J6nah!." opens the door for discussion about misbehav- ior. apologies and forgiveness without being overbearing. Jago's colorful illustrations-- the fish is a golden giant with a humongous mouth and large googly eyes--will have young readers wading into the plot. The artist won the National Jewish Book Award for his illustrations in "Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim.': The Van hing Gourds, A Sukkot Mystery Susan Axe- Bronk, illustrated by Marta Monelli Kar-Ben, $17.95 hardcover; $7.95 paper- back Ages 3-8 A PJ Library selection "The Vanishing Gourds" is a lighthearted backyard mystery that captures the seasonal spirit of the joy- ous celebration of Sukkot, reflecting its appreciation of the natural orld. Susan Axe-Bronk's first children's book is brightly illustrated by Marta Moneili. With Sukkot's themes of gratitude, simplicity and ap- many years he was ill and homebound. Jack loved good food, and one of the ways I tried both to give him plea- sure and keep him relatively healthy was to cook for him. As everything about our life changed, cooking creatively also became a way for me to maintain a positive attitude. And in trying to keep Jack's spirits up, I raised my own. I discovered that evenwhen Jack was ill, he was receptive to new tastes. So I began experimenting wi.th novel kosher ingredient~that were just coming to the market. Wasabi powder, miso, panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), bal- samic and rice vinegars, and a variety of oils--truffle and sesame:--hadn't been avail- able to kosher cooks when I wrote my first two books, so Jack and ! became acquainted with them together.-In com- ing up with new dishes, their nutritional value was, of course, a decisive factor. But so was their appeal to the preciation of all things green, it's no wonder the holiday is 'gaining popularity. In Axe-Bronk's tale. read- ers meet Sara. a spirited young girl "who loves to decorate the family sukkah with colorful and unusu- ally shaped gourds from a local farm. But one year the gourds hanging from the roof slats mysteriously fall to the ground, scattering their seeds. Atnight. while Saraand her brother Avi are sleeping in the sukkah, they discover a family of squir- rels eating the gourds. Sara dreams that the squirrel family apologizes, explain- ing that they were hungry. They promise to bring new gourds to Sara next year. In a heartwarming and happy ending, Sara discovers an unexpected gift the follow- ing Sukkot. Monelli's large format illustrations reflect the colors of the season. The Mitzvah Magician Linda Elovitz Marshall, il- lustrated by Christiane Engel Kar-Ben, $17.95 hardcover; $7.95 paperback Ages 3-8 Wearing a tall black hat and carrying a wand in his hand, an ordinary young boy transforms himself into a mischief-loving magician, emptying glasses of milk onto the floor and mistakenly poking his younger sister, Julia. In a time-out for his misbehavior, the young fellow thinks about his mother's warnings that good magi- cians do good deeds, mitzvot, and don't hurt people. With a wave of his magic wand, Gabriel creates new magic words Jewish words. "One- wish! Two-wish!" Jew.Wish!" he proclaims. Young kids will pick up the beat of Ga- briel's magic command, as he sneaks off the time-out stool to magically clean up the spilled milk from the kitchen floor, tidy his overturned toys and even set a party table with cookies for the family. Eiovitz provides a light- hearted setting to the Jew- ish value of doing good. and Christiane Engel's illustra- tions are lively and engag- ing. Figures and scenes are brightly colored and large enough for kids to enjoy reading the story through the palate and to the eye. Until the very end, Jack looked forward to the meals I made for him, so I counted my experiments a success. Yet as his illness progressed, com- fort foods--meatloaf, soups, frittatas, risottos, vegetable burgers, tuna burgers, turkey scaloppini, and most chicken dishes--were more to his liking than some of my more modern innovations. Whether you and your loved ones opt for the familiar or the exotic, eating well on a daily basis requires good planning, portion control and nutrition. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to select ingredients of the highestquality and, whenever possible, seasonal products. Indeed, if I have one rule for both cooking and eating, it is that what is best and freshest at the market--fish, vegeta- bles, fruit and meat--should dictate the menu. The better your ingredients, the better your results. expressive artwork. Room for the Baby .Mi- chelle Edwards, illustrated by Jana Christy .Random House, $17.99 Ages 3 and up A PJ Library selection Michelle Edwards' deft touch and sense of humor shine through in this delight- ful family tale that follows a do-it-yourself-family through the Jewish holiday calendar. It begins at Passover. when Morn announces the family is going to have a baby. "Where will the baby sleep?" wonders the young. boy. The sewing room that will be used for the new baby overflows with his mom's stuff that she's collected for many years when neighbors bring her their extra sheets, utgrown kids pajamas, sports clothes, sweaters and more. Who won't relate? As the family observes Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah and finally-Chanukah, old sheets are torn apart and sewn into tiny baby sleepers; chopsticks and an old sweater sleeve become a flag for Simchat Torah. and so forth through the Jewish holidays. By Cha- nukah, all the stuff has been repurposed into beautiful and useful items for the new baby or happily shared with neighbors. This warmly imagined story by the award-winning author of "Chicken Man" touches many themes-- anticipating a new baby, celebrating Jewish holidays, dads who bake chal!ah, living in a multiculturai neighbor- hood and, of course, inventive ways to reuse our "stuff." Jana Christy's illustrations glow with colorful collage patterns. Even the family cat gets in on the action. Speak Up, Tommy! Jac- queline Dembar Greene, illustrated by Deborah Mel- mon Kar-Ben, $1Z95 hard- cover; $7.95paperback Ages 3-8 While "Speak Up, Tom- my!," by the aw ard-winning author Jacqueline Dembar Greene. is not about the High Holidays, it is an outstand- ing new title that is timely as the new school year gets under way. Set in a classroom, "Speak Up, Tommy!" touches all the But in the end, keeping kosher is more, to me, than just a sensible way to live and toeat healthfully. The ancient Jewish dietary laws help to organize my life around family, Friday nights and holidays. They remind me of the importance of community and anchor me to the other rituals of our religion. Their observance inspires me to stttdy ourtexts more deeply-- a search for meaning that, in turn, heightens my respect for human nature. The Torah says it all in its reverence for life. And one way we can bring that reverence into our lives and our homes is with a well-planned, home-cooked, nutritious kosher meal. Excerpt from New Ko- sher Cuisine 2012 by Helen Nash. Published ,by The Overlook Press, Peter Mayer Publishers Inc., New York, NY. www. overlookpress.com. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Courtesy Helen Nash Helen Nash is author of 'New Kosher Cuisine.' chords about getting along with others and not teasing. classmates, new or old. Tom- my, a boy from Israel. is teased because his English is not perfect and he hasn't learned the difference between Israeli and American football. But his perfect Hebrew comes in handy when Officer Sweeney visits the classroom with Samson, a specially trained dog who shares Tommy's Hebrew language. There are fun Hebrew-English word bubbles with dog commands such as "sheket," meaning quiet; "tavi." for fetch and "kelev tov!" for good dog. In ,- the end. classmates become helpful friends. Deborah Melmon's car- toon-like illustrations are lively and action packed. FIRST WE LISTEN..: THEN WE DELIVER! 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