Ahem, ahem! Check out what Kirkus had to say about K&K:
“Kayla sets the table for Shabbat while she manages to avert numerous mishaps caused by her overeager assistant, the mischievous puppy Kugel.
Kayla patiently allows Kugel to “help” by pulling on the tablecloth, grabbing the Kiddush cup, and balancing the salt shaker on his nose while she succinctly narrates all the steps to setting a proper Shabbat table. The easy interplay of pictures and text allows children to read the illustrations for some of the unsaid details that telegraph Kugel’s next possible calamity. They will be amused by the proximity of disaster for each of his little upsets, such as dirtying the table with his paw prints or trying to eat the flowers. When finished, Kugel’s sadness helps Kayla realize that they are not ready for a “Shabbat Shalom” until the whole family gathers around the table. Cheerfully amusing, brightly colored illustrations depict the rambunctiousness of an adorable and endearing young puppy. Beyond the plot, the larger message of the importance of family to the weekly celebration is effectively presented to the toddler set.
This upbeat explication should prove both entertaining and instructive. (Picture book/religion. 2-4)”
Yes, it’s time to face facts: Passover IS coming. Definitely time to make sure you have your copy of Frogs in the Bed:
And, of course, here’s the latest and greatest coloring page from yours truly. As always, just click on the image, and print. (And if you need it as a pdf, you can click here: red sea).
(This article appeared in Jewish Action Magazine over here.)
About a year ago, my life changed. Shockingly, my kids weren’t babies anymore, and I went back to work.
Well, that’s not quite accurate. I worked when I was home too—but it was freelance. I was an author/illustrator combined with stay-at-home mom. So my life was something like this: carpool, write, paint, make dinner, write, paint, grocery shop. Repeat.
Needless to say, my sink was often full of dirty dishes.
Now I work full-time. This new reality comes with many adjustments, from changing my wardrobe (no more sneakers and smocks) to grocery shopping only on Sundays. My lifestyle has definitely shifted.
But more than the wardrobe and the shopping is the mental shift: a line has been drawn. In my first life, I raised little kids, and painted on the side. Now, in my second life, I am an editor, and if I am very fortunate, my teenagers generously speak with me and tell me what’s going on in school.
There is still plenty of carpooling. But it feels like two very distinct chapters. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say I’ve been blessed with a second life.
Just 150 years ago, people generally lived until age forty-five, with many women dying even younger in childbirth. So that meant one would get married, have kids. . . and that was that. That was life.
Today, lifespans typically reach well beyond forty-five. Men and women both now commonly have true arichat yamim and can reasonably expect to have twenty to thirty years of healthy living past retirement age. That means, in another twenty to thirty years, I (hopefully!) will have another transition to absorb, and will have to decide what to do with a third life.
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say I’ve been blessed with a second life.
In the Torah, Miriam also had multiple chapters in her life. She spent the first phase of her life in Egypt, the second as a freed woman who had witnessed redemption. Rabbi Eliyahu Yedid, author of Sheva Haneviot, points out a fascinating detail about her. Miriam is presented with nearly the exact same challenge in both chapters of her life: she has a close relative who separates from his wife. In the first instance, it’s her father, and Rashi tells us that Miriam’s response was to speak up and strongly advise her father to remarry her mother. Result: Moshe is born, and the Jewish people are ultimately freed.
In life two, Miriam is presented with a nearly identical situation. This time, it’s her baby brother who is separating from his wife. Her response? She speak ups. The result? Tzara’at.
What happened? Why did Miriam’s response work the first time and not the second?
Perhaps I can extend Rabbi Yedid’s insight, and suggest that Miriam made the mistake of thinking that both her lives were the same, and both situations were identical. But by definition they were not. One’s tafkid is different in each life, and even though we are the same person and situations can appear to be the same, they are in fact unique, and require different responses and actions.
It was right for me personally to be home in my first life. It is right for me to be working in my second life. For someone else, it might be an entirely different choice. That’s the whole point: we are all different, we all have unique roles and those roles shift over time. The trick, of course, is to be the best “you” in all the lives Hashem gives you.
Ann D. Koffsky is the author/illustrator of more than thirty books for kids, and an editor at Behrman House publishers. Her newest book, Kayla & Kugel, is about a girl and her dog preparing for Shabbat. It’s due out this fall.
I am very pleased to announce that the winner of a copy of Shabbat Shalom Hey! is…(drumroll please)–Marnie!
Thanks so much to everyone else for entering, it is so nice to know that folks are out there actually reading my blog and enjoying my work. Running this kind of raffle is really grew because I get to hear from you–even if it’s just a short comment, it’s nice to know you are there!
And, if you didn’t win…stay tuned! I hope to do this again this Fall, for my next book Kayla &Kugel!
Hey, I have a new book, Shabbat Shalom Hey!
Hey, Want to enter twice? Visit my Facebook page and like and share the post of the same subject over there. Thanks for helping me spread the word!