Beni's Tiny Tales: Around the Year in Jewish Holidays

by Jane Breskin Zalben (Author)

Beni's Tiny Tales: Around the Year in Jewish Holidays
Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

Join Beni and his family as they celebrate a year in Jewish Holidays, including all their favorite craft activities, recipes, songs, and stories for each occasion. The perfect gift book that gives all year long.

Chronicling a full year of Jewish festivities--from Rosh Hashanah through Shavuot, with every momentous occasion in between--this one-of-a-kind treasury includes homespun family stories, origin notes, craft activities, songs, and recipes for each holiday. With ideas on how to make masks for Purim, recipes to bake fresh honey-dipped challah to mark the new year, and so much more, this interactive holiday collection begs to be revisited again and again.

Beautifully crafted and with the right balance of factual details interspersed with fictional stories, this Jewish treasury is a welcome introduction to each holiday in the calendar year, and it is all told through the lens of Beni's bear family. For parents who grew up reading Beni's Family Treasury and Beni's Family Cookbook, the family tradition lives on in this much anticipated compendium for contemporary readers.

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Kirkus Reviews

Young readers and their grown-ups will find much to savor here...Family, food, and festivities—what more could readers want?


This handsomely designed treasury revisits Zalben’s loveable anthropomorphized bear family who made their picture-book debut 35 years ago in Beni’s First Chanukah.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2--Zalben returns with a Jewish holiday compilation starring the children of the bear characters from her many earlier works on individual holidays. The book begins with Beni and Sarah's children and their cousins celebrating Chanukah. Each child receives a Jewish calendar, which prompts the rest of the book: descriptions of each holiday, vignettes starring the grandchildren, one or more recipes or crafts, and some songs and prayers. As in most compilations, the quality of the stories is uneven. Some work well, while others feel choppy, transitionless, or incomplete. Descriptions of the holidays are mostly concise and useful, while the crafts and recipes vary in difficulty. The book ends with an extensive glossary of Jewish terms. Illustrations include images of Zalben's iconic bears celebrating the holidays, as well as spot art of holiday-related items. Packed with content, the book contains a few missteps, including awkward phrasing and unclear amounts and items in the recipes. The author makes a point to modernize the feel of the stories by including one holiday celebrated virtually due to a storm. On the whole, this is a pleasant book that will be best used in Jewish preschools and day schools, as well as for family gifts. VERDICT Public libraries with Jewish populations will find this a useful overview of holidays, but it will not replace the many other picture books covering them individually.--Amy Lilien-Harper

Copyright 2023 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

I'm so happy that Beni the Jewish Bear is back, and that he is once again sharing his family recipes with us through his human scribe, Jane Breskin Zalben. Jane's illustrations are as sublime as ever, tenderly welcoming us into this magical, delicious place of comfort, tradition, and joy.-Mollie Katzen, New York Times bestselling author of The Moosewood Cookbook and Pretend Soup
Jane Breskin Zalben

Jane Breskin Zalben is the acclaimed creator of the beloved Beni book series, including Beni's Family Treasury and Beni's Family Cookbook for the Jewish Holidays, which was an ALA Notable Children's Book and a CBC Not Just for Children Anymore pick. She is the recipient of four Sydney Taylor Book Awards, most recently for A Moon for Moe and Mo. Jane has written and illustrated more than fifty books--picture books through young-adult fiction--over a four-decade career. Also a painter of contemporary abstract art, she splits her time between Long Island City and Port Washington, New York. She welcomes you to visit her website:

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Christy Ottaviano Books-Little Brown and Hachette
Publication date
August 08, 2023
BISAC categories
JNF001000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Activity Books
JNF014000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Cooking & Food
JNF026110 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Holidays & Celebrations | Hanukkah
JNF049110 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Religion | Judaism
Library of Congress categories

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