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Grandma Rose's Magic (Shabbat)


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About the Author

Linda Elovitz Marshall raised her four children, a small flock of sheep, lots of zucchinis and countless rabbits in a historic farmhouse overlooking the Hudson River in upstate New York. A graduate of Barnard College of Columbia University, she has, in addition to writing and farming, taught early childhood and parenting education, owned a bookstore. Her previous books include Talia and the Rude Vegetables and Talia and the Very YUM Kippur. Ag Jatkowska was born in Gdansk, Poland. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk with an MA in Graphic Design and Illustration. She lives in Bath, England.


"Grandma Rose loves to sew and has over the years brought joy into the lives of many people in her community. With a needle, some thread, and a piece of cloth she makes magic in the form of dresses for girls, slacks for boys, curtains and quilts, dolls for grandchildren, tablecloths, and much more. Her dream is to save enough money so that one day she can purchase a set of beautiful dishes with pink and red roses and blue trim.

As we were reading this heart-warming story written by Linda Elovitz Marshall for children ages 3 to 8 years old, we thought of all the love that goes into the craft of sewing and how it creates connections between people. For Grandma Rose it is a major part of her day and provides a source of personal renewal and service to others." --Spirituality & Practice


"Can sewing make magic?

Yes, if it's done by kind-hearted Grandma Rose. Every day she sews, and every day she saves to buy a beautiful set of dishes, just like the ones her grandmother used on Shabbos. She sews for everyone: a skirt for Mrs. Feldman, a blue tablecloth for Mrs. Cooper, a hat for Mrs. Segal and a shirt for Mr. Cohen. For each item, she stitches something extra (rose-shaped buttons for the skirt, a set of napkins for the tablecloth and so on), as if by magic. When her jar of coins reaches $200, she goes to the store to buy the pretty pink-and-red-rose dishes with blue-and-gold trim. Oh no, the department store does not have them! Sadly, she uses her money to buy food for a special meal and returns home. Surprise! Each of the people for whom she sewed is there, holding a piece of her beloved china. The attractive illustrations (reminiscent of Emma Chichester Clark) add Jewish references to situate the story firmly within its community.

A well-stitched tale about generosity for people of all faiths." --Kirkus Reviews


"What goes around comes around arrives in a sweet way in the form of a sewing grandmother who always does something extra. Her mitzvot (good deeds) do not go unnoticed, supporting the surprise ending. Grandma Rose sews for young and old: clothes, blankets, table cloths, dolls. She saves her money to buy a set of Shabbat china dishes, just like the ones she used at her grandmother's as a girl. Her coin jar fills, the bank converts the coins to dollars, but alas, when she arrives at the department store, all the dishes have been sold. On the way home, Grandma Rose markets to prepare a banquet meal to ease her sadness. When she enters her home, there are all her family, friends and customers each--drum roll!--with a piece of the long sought china purposely purchased to say 'thank you.' Ah that the world were so full of innocent gratitude and memory. But why not let a youngster relish this idea as a spur to good deeds? The magic of the sewing is more than the product; it is the joy of that extra kindness. The dialogue is sprightly if a little too 'by gosh, by golly'; the illustrations deliver pert, pleased, happy people. There is bare bones overt Jewish content: customers with Jewish names, mention of 'Shabbos, ' and one picture of a Shabbat dinner. However, the value of tikkun olam (repairing the world) jumps off every page. If this is what magical sewing can accomplish, hooray for that stitch in time!"--Association of Jewish Libraries


"A group of four- and five-year olds loved this magical story of a special Grandma who adds a little extra something to whatever she sews. When she sews the bank teller's wedding dress, Grandma Rose surprises her by adding a lacy bridal veil. She adds beautiful pink and red buttons shaped like roses to a skirt she is hemming for Mrs. Feldman, and twelve beautiful napkins (with blue and gold borders) magically appear with the blue tablecloth Mrs. Cooper has ordered for her daughter who is getting married.

Grandma Rose tells her granddaughter that she is saving all her earnings so she can buy the dishes she saw in the department store. They have pink and red roses and blue and gold trim, and look like the dishes her grandmother used for Shabbos meals. But when the bank teller converts the coins in Grandma Rose's jar to the $200 she has earned and she goes to purchase the dishes, Grandma Rose is very disappointed. All of the dishes are gone! She is sad, but decides to get a lot of delicious food with which to fill her old dishes. Surprise! When she opens the doors to her house, all of her customers, friends and family are gathered there, each holding a piece of the dish set to thank her for all her wonderful surprises! The story ends with her saying 'must be magic' when Mr. Cohen asks how she knew to have all that delicious food for them (which is, of course, being served on those new dishes.)

Cheerful, brightly colored illustrations with sprightly smiling people are the perfect complement to the text. Marshall, who also wrote Talia and the Rude Vegetables, has written a hopeful story brimming with the joys of generosity and emphasizing the message of tikkun olam (fixing the world) without being didactic. Highly recommended for ages 4-6.." --Jewish Book World


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