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And a Cat from Carmel Market

And a Cat from Carmel Market
Rotem Teplow Illustrated by
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Lerner Publishing Group

Limited ***

10.6 X 8.9 in
32 pg

JUVENILE FICTION / Religious / Jewish


A cute Shabbat story with a surprise ending


"In Tel Aviv, Bubbe gets ready for Shabbat by visiting Carmel Market, where she is followed by a variety of interested felines.

With her shopping cart and list, Bubbe visits each stall and buys what is necessary to prepare a proper Shabbat dinner. Only the right challah, candles, tablecloth, chicken and noodles for soup will do. But Bubbe does not notice the cats trailing her, the bouncy verse in each spread ending with the same refrain as they accumulate: 'Bubbe walked from stall to stall. / ‘These noodles are best of all. / Potatoes for kugel, carrots, and squash!’ / …and a cat from Carmel Market!' Soon a group of strays surrounds her, and by the time she arrives home they are in her cart, around her legs, and even atop her head. No matter. Bubbe cooks, seasons, tastes until it all comes together and family gathers around her beautifully set table. Then, a chorus of yowling: '‘Where is it coming from?’ they all wanted to know. / …from the cats of Carmel Market!' Finally aware of all her kitty guests, Bubbe '[lights] the candles, and what a surprise! / All the cats settled down before her eyes.' Cats curled on several laps, everyone is now ready for a 'Shabbat shalom.' The rhyming text with its recurring refrain is augmented by delicate, detailed drawings in soft hues featuring a snow-white–haired, rounded, White grandmother, diverse secondary characters, and a clutter of friendly cats.

A sweet depiction of the traditions of the Jewish weekly observance." — Kirkus Reviews Journal

"A bubbe vis­its her local shuk, which is Tel Aviv’s Carmel Mar­ket. She has set out to find her usu­al Shab­bat neces­si­ties: chal­lah, can­dles, and chick­en for soup. But this bubbe is espe­cial­ly ener­getic, demand­ing, and resource­ful. In her funky flo­ral sweater and lace-up sneak­ers, she goes from booth to booth, pick­ing up treats from noo­dles to hal­vah and some­how arrives home with a crazy col­lec­tion of cats ready to take over her Fri­day night meal. Alyssa Satin Capu­cil­li and Rotem Teplow have trans­formed the fig­ure of a lov­able Jew­ish grand­moth­er into the star of her own show. Their sim­ple, rhyth­mic text and del­i­cate­ly col­ored images depict both a mul­ti­cul­tur­al, mod­ern Israel and the tra­di­tion­al matri­arch whose light­ing of can­dles ensures a joy­ous Shab­bat. From the begin­ning, Bubbe appears capa­ble and orga­nized, but emo­tion­al, as well. She car­ries a list and sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly fills her cart with ingre­di­ents for a deli­cious meal, encom­pass­ing both Ashke­naz­ic and Sephardic tastes. Pota­toes, car­rots, and squash for kugel share space with figs, pome­gran­ates, chick­peas, and mint. No expla­na­tion of this mixed cui­sine is nec­es­sary, since Teplow’s pic­tures show peo­ple with dif­fer­ent skin col­ors and style of dress, a diver­si­ty reflect­ed in her own fam­i­ly when they join togeth­er at her table. The market’s rich­ness of both prod­ucts and peo­ple appear in detail, from the array of care­ful­ly drawn fruits and veg­eta­bles to the busy urban activ­i­ty of mer­chants and cus­tomers. Ele­ments of mag­ic sub­tly sneak into this real­is­tic scene. Bubbe sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly recites all the foods which she pur­chas­es, but she also needs to stop and lis­ten to an accordionist’s music, and, in one pic­ture, effort­less­ly jug­gle fruit through the air. Mean­while, whether drawn by the smell of food or sim­ply to join Bubbe on her quest, cats begin to join her in almost over­whelm­ing num­bers. Each one is indi­vid­u­al­ly por­trayed and engaged in dif­fer­ent activ­i­ties. A cat, with an almost human expres­sion on its face, sits on her shoul­der, watch­ing intent­ly while Bubbe holds up the per­fect olive. Anoth­er nes­tles in a bou­quet of flow­ers, while one more hides in Bubbe’s cart with only his long tail pro­trud­ing out. By the time Bubbe is at her house and ready to cook, the cats have remained, qui­et­ly observ­ing her as 'She mixed and stirred and tast­ed with zeal/She salt­ed and pep­pered and spiced the meal.' As the book’s set­ting shifts from out­side to inside, the cats take on a dif­fer­ent role. In the mar­ket they were humor­ous acces­sories to the action, but now they pose a prob­lem. Teplow’s care­ful­ly com­posed fam­i­ly scene depicts a peace­ful Shab­bat meal threat­ened by chaos, as the cats emit a 'yowl­ing din,' crawl on chairs, and tug on the table­cloth. Noo­dles are over­turned and wine spills as Bubbe’s metic­u­lous­ly select­ed foods lie in dis­or­der. Even Bubbe is over­whelmed at the sight, but the story’s res­o­lu­tion affirms that flex­i­bil­i­ty is as impor­tant as plan­ning. The final pic­ture has a mys­ti­cal qual­i­ty, with cats who have been calmed by Bubbe’s can­dles sit­ting qui­et­ly like pre­vi­ous­ly excit­ed chil­dren antic­i­pat­ing a spe­cial event. Bubbe’s trip to Carmel Mar­ket was a plea­sure in itself; her Shab­bat can­not be reduced to the per­fect bowl of soup or bou­quet of flow­ers. And a Cat from Carmel Mar­ket is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed and includes a glos­sary of Hebrew and Yid­dish words." — Emily Schneider, Jewish Book CouncilWebsite

Author Bio

Alyssa Satin Capucilli is the author of more than 100 books for young readers, including the best-selling Biscuit series (HarperCollins).  Alyssa’s awards include the Washington Irving Award, Garden State Award, Bank Street College Best Book Award, and the Oppenheim Portfolio Gold Award. She lives in New York.

Rotem Teplow lives and works in Israel. She graduated from Shenkar College of Design in 2016. Her recent books include The Eternal Soldier, written by Allison Crotzer Kimmel, and Two Bears: An Epic Journey of Hope, written by Patricia Hegarty. She also does illustration work for newspapers and magazines.