This delightful picture book shows, in rhyming verse, the joys of baking challah together as a family in anticipation of Shabbat (or really any occasion!)
A charming family of four plus a corgi get together to bake their recipe for challah, showing how teamwork and not taking things too seriously help them not only make a delicious meal — featuring the traditional braided bread of the title — but also host loved ones around the table. While the family and traditions are unabashedly Jewish, the messages of working together as a family and taking joy in cooking and dining together are universal.
The expressive, slightly retro illustrations perfectly complement Charlotte Orsay’s lively verse, tho I’ll admit that the former restaurant industry professional in me blanched when the dog gripped one end of the challah dough for the kids to braid. I did really love how the kids took care to help their parents with tasks, and even amuse each other while their parents were busy cooking and cleaning. It’s a wonderful lesson in being proactive for young (and even some older!) readers.
The book closes with a section explaining what makes challah different from other breads, as well as explanations of its other characteristics. I loved the emphasis both in this section and throughout that everyone has a different challah recipe, and that there’s no one right way to do it. That said, there is a recipe included here that makes 4 loaves. One thing I learned from the pandemic lockdowns is that I very much appreciate the work of professional bakers, and will leave most bread baking to them. It’s always good to have a solid challah recipe in one’s back pocket, tho, should the need arise.
Overall, this is a terrific addition to the library of any child, particularly ones interested in cooking. Just don’t let them let the family pets get too involved!
Challah Day by Charlotte Offsay & Jason Kirschner was published August 1 2023 by Holiday House and is available from all good booksellers, including