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The Schmutzy Family
by Madelyn Rosenberg
Paul Meisel, Illustrator

Reinforced | 32 pages | 10 x 10 | US$ 16.95
ISBN: 9780823423712 | 09-01-2012

Also available as an ebook.

Grade: FIRST | Age: 4 to 8

Themes: Judaica, Humor, Family & Relationships
Recommendations: A, C, K, PW

About the Book

In this lively celebration of Jewish traditions, a family must balance giving their children the freedom to make a mess and having a tidy home for Shabbos.

On Sunday the Schmutzy's drag in dirt from the malodorous Feldman Swamp. On Monday they make mud pies, and on Tuesday they smear spaghetti sauce. So it goes until Friday morning, when it's time to be not-so-schmutzy. The family members soap, scour, and shower. And on Friday night they are ready to celebrate Shabbos with prayer, song, and supper.

A glossary defines fun-to-say Yiddish words like schmutzy and farshtunken, and an author's note explains Shabbos traditions.


"Delightful . . . Children of all backgrounds will relate to this story of preparing for a formal meal and all the restraint and self-control involved in a sit-down dinner. . . . [and they] will enjoy picking out details not mentioned in the text . . . The book explores Jewish traditions in a unique and vibrant way, offering a loving portrait of a free-wheeling family many readers will wish they had."—School Library Journal

Madelyn Rosenberg is a freelance writer living in Arlington, Virginia. This is her first book for children. For a Q&A with Madelyn, click here!

Paul Meisel, who holds a master's degree in graphic design from Yale University, has illustrated many books for children including The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah by Leslie Kimmelman and Barnyard Slam by Dian Curtis Regan. He is both author and illustrator of See Me Run, an I Like to Read® book. He lives in Connecticut.