Take a peek inside
Written by Yael Molchadsky
Illustrated by Liora Grossman
Translated by Annette Appel
Price: £8.99 / $11.99
Beautifully illustrated picture book for 4-8 year olds
Retells a classic Jewish folktale with warmth and humour
Teaches the importance of sharing, generosity and kindness
Demonstrates the joy and inclusivity of Shabbat
Includes a recipe for challah
‘Hallelujah for a brand new day and the wondrous smell that floats my way.’
A poor but happy peddler lives in the attic of a bakery. Whilst he does not have much, he is content with his life. Every morning, he wakes up to the wonderful smell of freshly-baked challah and loudly exclaims his joy through the open window.
The baker, however, grows ever more irate that the peddler should enjoy the smell of his bread without ever paying for it. He asks the Rabbi for help.
The Rabbi summons the peddler and instructs him to return in one week with enough money to pay the baker back for all the times he has enjoyed the smell of his challah. The peddler works harder than ever that week. When he returns with as much money as he can scrape together, the Rabbi takes his coin-pouch and shakes it for the baker to hear. The sound of the coins is payment, the Rabbi says, for the smell of the bread. Sound and smell, just like Shabbat, are free for everyone in the world to enjoy.
A delightful retelling of an inspiring Jewish folktale, The Peddler and the Baker teaches the importance of sharing and inclusivity, the beauty of Shabbat and the idea that anyone, regardless of their circumstances, has the right to enjoy the world.
A recipe for challah follows the story.
Yael Molchadsky is the director of the Children’s and YA department at Israel’s Kinneret-Zmora-Dvir publishing house. She edits the prestigious Marganit series which aims to bring translated literary fiction to young Hebrew readers. She has translated picture books from English and German and is a sought-after speaker on Children’s and YA literature. The Chameleon that Saved Noah’s Ark was the first book she wrote for children.
Liora Grossman was born in Lithuania during the Soviet regime and immigrated to Israel when she was 5 years old. She graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design and has illustrated more than 100 children books in Israel and Europe. She has illustrated food columns in some of Israel’s leading newspapers and teaches Illustration at Holon Institute of Technology.
“This is a lovely Jewish story that our 6-year-old grandson enjoyed and it also appealed to his 3-year-old brother, with beautiful illustrations and an underlying message teaching the importance of sharing. It even includes a recipe for challah, the plaited bread eaten on the Sabbath.” – 5-star Amazon review from Jonathan A
“A poor peddler lives above a bakery. Every day, he enjoys the smell of bread baking—until the grumpy baker decides to charge him for this pleasure. But a clever rabbi outwits the baker and brings about a just solution, while teaching about the beauty of Shabbat. The Peddler and the Baker by Yael Molchadsky (Green Bean Books, £8.99) is illustrated by Liora Grossman in soft shades of stone, Mediterranean blue and russet—an enchanting land of curving staircases and wisps of bakery steam. Challah recipe included. Age four to eight.” – The Jewish Chronicle
“Beautiful book with a powerful message, with the text and illustrations flowing along like instruments in a concert, each enhancing the other … The illustrations in this book take us a journey all on their own, with glorious end papers of baking tools … The perfect Shabbat book on so many levels.” – Sydney Taylor Shmooze
“Soft, lovely colored pencil illustrations accompany this timeless, well-told folktale, and a recipe for challah is included in the back.” – The Association of Jewish Libraries
“A poor peddler, content with his life despite his meager possessions, finds great joy in smelling the freshly baked bread from the bakery below his little apartment. However, one day the cantankerous baker demands payment from the peddler—how dare he enjoy the smell of bread for free! The two seek guidance from a rabbi, who teaches them that some things in life should be sacred and priceless. This grand old story is elegantly written and primed to prompt thought-provoking conversation. Every scene is a masterfully composed two-page spread, including scenes of a lively, bustling, old city that are never too busy or chaotic. The city is shown during the golden hues of daytime and the velvety blues of midnight. The soft and lush pencil drawings add detail to the text. For example, the first page introduces the poor but happy peddler, and sharp-eyed readers can see the baker, with his steaming trays of treats, working his way through the crowd on the opposite page. And when the rabbi imparts his wisdom, the pages take on stunning colors not seen elsewhere in the book: Ethereal purples and pinks add a profound, dreamlike quality to the scene. Even the endpapers are populated with lovingly hand-drawn illustrations of baking implements, from bundt pans to whisks. If readers find themselves hungry for the smell and taste of home-baked bread, the book’s back matter includes an easy and delicious challah recipe to try at home. VERDICT A timeless story rich with Jewish tradition that can be enjoyed by everyone. Perfect for a story hour discussion.” – Chance Lee Joyner, Haverhill P.L., MA
“The lessons taught by this simple, well-told tale are simultaneously self-evident and sophisticated. The reader’s primary take-away is that greed doesn’t pay, but there are many other ethical issues embedded in the simple prose: honesty, the value of hard work, the benefits of asking learned advice, and, importantly, the joy of a creative approach to a problem. The rabbi is not caricatured in this charming story and, along with the humour, a sense of respect shines through. The illustration is just as spectacular as the witty text, using appealing muted tones, facial expression, and body language. The artist’s rendition of a bustling, productive, yet generally serene town is superb. Two small children, peeking out over the stairway wall, and bookcases crammed with clearly beloved and well-used books are examples of the artist’s attention to detail. The illustrations partner with the winsome text to both entertain and educate.” — Michal Hoschander Malen, editor of Jewish Book Council