And a Cat from Carmel Market

Alyssa Satin Capucilli (Author), Rotem Teplow (Illustrator)

When Bubbe goes to the outdoor Carmel Market in Tel-Aviv to shop for Shabbat, she finds challah, candles, chicken, flowers, and more! But it seems lots of furry friends find Bubbe … and they’re all ready to celebrate Shabbat, too!

Publisher’s Weekly: Seeking groceries for Shabbat dinner, Bubbe, a white Jewish woman with teal spectacles and an eye-catching floral sweater, goes to Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, but she returns home with more than she bargained for in this rollicking adventure by Capucilli. Utilizing the refrain “…and a cat from Carmel [Vlarket,” Capucilli follows Bubbe through the open-air shuk in bouncy rhymes as she picks up challah, meat, produce, and more including quite a few feline hangers-on (“ln and out and all around,/ olives, chickpeas, mint she found./ A babka and a halvah treat …and a cat from Carmel Market!”). Young readers will enjoy finding the myriad cats in Teplow’s softly colored digital illustrations, which feature a cast of characters with varying skin tones and hairstyles. An entertaining, family-centered read for young feline fanciers. Back matter includes a glossary.

Kirker’s Reviews: ln Tel Aviv, Bubbe gets ready for Shabbat by visiting Carmel Market, where she is followed by a variety of interested felines. With her shopping cart and list, Bubbe visits each stall and buys what is necessary to prepare a proper Shabbat dinner. Only the right challah, candles, tablecloth, chicken and noodles for soup will do. But Bubbe does not notice the cats trailing her, the bouncy verse in each spread ending with the same refrain as they accumulate: “Bubbe walked from stall to stall. /’These noodles are best of all. / Potatoes for kugel, carrots, and squash!’/ … and a cat from Carmel Market!” Soon a group of strays surrounds her, and by the time she arrives home they are in her cart, around her legs, and even atop her head. No matter. Bubbe cooks, seasons, tastes until it all comes together and family gathers around her beautifully set table. Then, a chorus of yowling: ” ‘Where is it coming from?’ they all wanted to know. / …from the cats of Carmel Market!” Finally aware of all her kitty guests, Bubbe “lights the candles, and what a surprise! / All the cats settled down before her eyes.” Cats curled on several laps, everyone is now ready for a “Shabbat shalom.” The rhyming text with its recurring refrain is augmented by delicate, detailed drawings in soft hues featuring a snow-white-haired, rounded, White grandmother, diverse secondary characters, and a clutter of friendly cats. A sweet depiction of the traditions of the Jewish weekly observance.

Chava Pinchuck, Past chair, Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee; Editor, Jewish Values Finder, Ramat Beit
Shemesh, lsrael:  Bubbe shops at the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv every Friday. Armed with her list and her shopping cart, she gets everything she needs: challah, Shabbat candles, chicken, and fruits and vegetables. As she loads the cart with her items, a cat jumps in. “‘Oy, My cart is growing full,’Bubbe said with a push and a pull.” She repeats this as she buys more things and more cats appear in her bags, so as she checks off her list, she also gets “a cat from Carmel Market.” Bubbe then goes home and prepares the meal, but when she and her guests sit down, the noise starts. Once Bubbe lights the candles, all the cats stop yowling and settle down. The clowder joins them at the Shabbat meal, although there are some spilled glasses and bowls. Capucilli, author of the Biscuit the dog series has created equally adorable and lively felines, and Teplow’s colorful illustrations that are full of activity capture both the excitement of the open-air market and the preparations for Shabbat. A little slip for traditionalists who light the candles before the Shabbat meal, and words like “zeal” and “yowling din” are a little advanced for the target audience. Most lsraelis are not thrilled with the abundance of feral cats and would not welcome them to the Shabbat table. But the book can work on many levels: a great addition to story time with the repeating phrases and all the cats, a positive book about lsrael, and a book about preparing for Shabbat.

Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
Age: 4-8
Pages: 32
ISBN: 1541586700