Big Bad Wolf’s Yom Kippur

Apples & Honey. Sept. 2023. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781681156064.
PreS-Gr 2–When Raccoon invites the Big Bad Wolf to synagogue on Yom Kippur, Wolf envisions snagging something (or someone) tasty to eat. His arrival makes the other animals nervous, but the Rabbi, a bear, greets him with a hug. Wolf finds himself enjoying the service and is surprisingly moved by the Rabbi’s message about “how the leaves change color each fall, and how everyone in the forest could also become a little better and brighter.” When he meets Little Red Riding Hood on his walk home, does Wolf gobble her and her granny up? When he comes across the houses of the Three Little Pigs, does Wolf huff and puff and blow their houses down? Can a Big Bad Wolf change his ways? The detailed, expressive illustrations in warm orange and gold tones bring this inventive story to life. Clever names like Rabbi Dov and Cantor Tzipporah, as well as other small details in the illustrations, will delight readers in the know, but even without the charming author’s note, the story is accessible to those unfamiliar with the holiday traditions. However, it is important to note that the depiction of cooking, eating, and working on the fast day might make the book unacceptable in some observant Jewish settings.
VERDICT Pair with Steve Smallman’s The Lamb Who Came for Dinner. Also, look to Gloria Koster’s Little Red Ruthie: A Hanukkah Tale and Laura Aron Milhander’s Not for All the Hamantaschen in Town for more fun Jewish holiday fairy tale twists.

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