The Bagel King

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 May 2018

Member Reviews

The Bagel King

written by Andrew Larsen
Illustrated by Sandy Nichols

The Bagel King is a sweet story about a grandfather who goes to the bakery every Sunday morning, rain or shine, and buys bagels to share with his grandson Eli. Then Zaida’s (grandpa’s) three friends arrive at his apartment with their assisted walking devices for a Sunday morning bagel feast. All of that changes one Sunday when Zaida slips at at the bakery and has to rest for several weeks. All are discouraged but Eli saves the day by making the bagel run himself.

The story is simple and uncomplicated. It is a short picture book so there is no opportunity for character development. There is a mini glossary of sorts defining the five Yiddish words in the book and explaining two food words. The illustrations are my favorite part of the book. They have a little bit of a comic book style to them, are gentle, humorous, and reflect the mood of the characters very well. For me, it is a good read aloud, but not a book I would treasure and pass through the generations.

I would like to extend my thanks to and to Kids Can Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Children’s Fiction

Notes: Age Range: 5-6 years
	 Grade Level: P-2

Publication:  May 1, 2018—Kids Can Press
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This is a cute, sweet story about a boy who helps his grandfather after he is injured and can't go to the bagel shop.
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The Bagel King is a sweet story about a little boy who always has bagels with his grandfather every Sunday. Unfortunately, one day, his granddad falls down and gets hurt, so the next Sunday, Eli goes himself to get the bagels. The illustrations are the best part of this story--sensitive and bright, they engage readers and draw them into the story. The words themselves have a good basis, but the inclusion of Yiddish terms feels very forced in the execution.
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A cute story about a boy whose grandfather delivers bagels to the house every week until he hurts his tuchis. The little boy finds out a way he can help. 

It was a cute story with fun words and cute pictures.

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I love a good bagel story!  Some of the most beautiful books I have read and shared are about bagels so when I saw that Andrew Larsen had written a book about bagels, naturally I had to have a look.  

Every Sunday, Zaida delivered bagels to Eli, occasionally Eli tagged along but no matter what the weather, Zaida would faithfully deliver bagels right to the front door.  One Sunday, however, Zaida slips and falls on some “schmutz” at the bakery and hurts his “tuches” so he won’t be able to do the bagel delivery.  How will Eli get his bagels?

Andrew Larsen has created a wonderful story, which I imagine has some basis in actual events as most of his stories do, about kindness, tradition, and community.  Larsen includes some wonderful, familiar Yiddish terms to pepper his story with authenticity and feeling, providing translations at the front to help you read out loud.  What a lovely story for our kids to remind them of that special grandparent/grandchild relationship and remind them that can be the helpers to their grandparents.  I’m a sucker for a good intergenerational story, having such fond memories of my grandparents and the time we spent together when I was a child.  The illustrations by Sandy Nichols move the story along and are full of vibrancy and eye catching colour.  Rendered in acrylic paint with bold outlines, they have a watery feel that jump straight out of the page.
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The Bagel King is an adorable story written by Andrew Larsen with cute illustrations drawn by Sandy Nichols. The tale is about the young boy, Eli, and his grandfather's very close relationship. Every Sunday, his grandfather or Zaida in Yiddish, religiously brings bagels to Eli's home. But one Sunday, Zaida had and accident therefore he needs to rest for several weeks. 

Eli surprised everyone when he took the responsibility one Sunday to bought the bagels, and deliver them to his Zaida and his friends. This lovely book will teach and remind young kids about loving, taking care, and respecting elders. Maintaining tradition values and being responsible were also shown in this wonderful story. There are some Yiddish words included also in the book, but they included the translations to them that can be easily located near the title page.
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I love the illustration style of this book, and the text to picture ratio is perfect for my reading-phobic students.  I appreciate that there is a glossary of terms that my students wouldn't know, especially because we've been working on learning how to find out meanings of words we don't know without asking the teacher for the definition. Kids will feel empowered by finding the definitions themselves and then being able to explain them to others in the class. Really beautiful book, and a great addition to any classroom.
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Eli's zaida (Jewish grandfather) is as reliable as a postman when it comes to delivering bagels. No matter the season Zaida delivers the warm, chewy, and salty delights to Eli until the day Zaida falls and hurts his tuche. Eli does a wonderful job caring for his grandfather who has been told by the doctor to rest. In an effort to better care for Zaida and his friends, Eli takes over the bagel delivery where he grandfather left off.

Sandy Nichols tells a great story regarding the warm relationship between grandfather and grandson. The delightful illustrations reminded me of picture books from my youth like Curious George illustrated by H.A. Rey and Harry the Dirty Dog illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham. I could almost smell the spread that showed Mrs. Rose at Merv's Bakery offering Eli a pickle . The baskets of bread and bagels on one side and the shelves of bread and rolls on the other, combined with the jar of pickles in the middle were an olfactory delight.

This book would be a great addition for a school library that celebrates Grandfriends' Day. It's also spot on for demonstrating care and empathy without being didactic.
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This adorable book follows a little boy who looks forward to eating bagels with his grandfather every Sunday.  Hi grandfather picks up the bagels from the local bakery, and the boy looks forward to eating the warm, chewy bagels and spending time with his grandfather every week.  Then, one week, his grandfather falls and is unable to bring the bagels.  The boy not only misses his bagels, but soon discovers that his grandfather brought bagels to other friends as well, and THEY really miss their time together as well.  This sweet story highlights the importance of the people in our lives, how much we miss them when they are unable to be with them, and the little, kind things we do for each other to make their day.  Highly recommended.

Thank you to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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Zaida, Eli's grandfather, gets bagels from Merv's Bakery every Sunday morning. One morning, when no bagels show up, Eli gets a phone call: Zaida's fallen on his tuchus and can't get the bagels! Eli and his family aren't the only ones waiting on bagels, either - Eli visits Zaida, only to discover that Zaida's friends are verklempt, too. No bagels! What a shanda, as my stepdad would say! Eli helps care for his zaida and keep him company, but he knows the best way to cheer Zaida up, and heads to the bagel store on his own the very next Sunday. This story is the most charming book about grandparents and grandchildren, loaded with compassion, a wink and nudge type of humor, and loads of fun, new Yiddish terminology. If you're an urban dweller, like me, these words are kind of a second language: Zaida is grandfather, and tuchus is your bottom; there's a little glossary of other Yiddish words that show up in the story, too. (Verklempt is overwhelmed with emotion, and shanda is a shame - you won't find them in the story, but all I could hear was my stepdad when I read this, so there you go.) I loved the sweet storytelling, the compassion and the decision to act on Eli's part, and Zaida and his group of friends were wonderful. It's got an urban flavor that everyone will enjoy, and is good storytelling. Use this story as an opportunity to get your kids talking about relationships with their grandparents: what do you call your grandparents? Do they cook, bake, or shop for food? Do you go with them? (I'd love to get some bagels to hand out with my group... hmmm...) The acrylic artwork has a soft, almost retro feel, but really emphasizes the relationship story with colors, gentle expressions, and soft lines.
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The Bagel King is a story about family, traditions, friendship, and thoughtfulness. It is about Zaida (grandfather) who gets bagels every Sunday and either takes his grandson Eli with him or delivers a bagel to his grandson. But one day Zaida doesn’t deliver bagels. It seems he’s had a bad fall, according to the woman at the bagel shop. So Eli runs to his grandfather’s apartment to make sure he’s okay. While he is there three of Zaida’s neighbors come over. They are there to enjoy some of the bagels that Zaida normally gets on Sundays. All five grumble that Sunday isn’t Sunday without bagels. Several days Eli brings chicken soup for his grandfather. On the following Saturday evening Eli has bagels on his mind and on Sunday morning he wakes up early, makes a list and heads to the bagel shop to see if he can help create a better Sunday.

The book has definitions of Yiddish words that are used in the book, as well as definitions and explanations of bagel and chicken soup.

Cons: The story felt weak. On one page it states that Eli looked out his window hoping to see Zaida arriving with bagels. But he didn’t see Zaida, instead, he saw Mrs. Katz, the neighbor, digging a hole in her garden. I thought that might mean something, but it went nowhere. Then other things concerned me:

Because there is no reference to Eli’s parents, we have no idea where he is getting the chicken soup.
Were Zaida's children taking an interest in their father who had fallen or does he have any living children?
Where did Eli get the money to buy the bagels and jar of pickles?
When Zaida brought a bagel to his grandson, we never see him sharing with anyone else. So does Eli live with parents?
When the three neighbors, Eli and Zaida are feeling hungry and helpless that there are no bagels to eat because Zaida took a tumble, wouldn’t it have been a good time to problem solve? 

Pros: The idea of this book with definitions is excellent. And if not over-analyzed, it's still a very good story for discussions on traditions, etc.  I also enjoyed the illustrations.
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This was a fun story about family traditions.  It has some excellent images that were nice and bright and really brought an added depth to the story - I loved that it had added Yiddish words to learn as the story went along too along with a hint at some Jewish traditions and culture - 4 stars!
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A pleasant and very visually attractive advanced picture book for the young reader, with a warm narrative of youthful industry and familial care.  If anything, though, it does rely on Jewish/Yiddish stereotypes, of the old men gathering and kvetching, waiting for a reason to have chicken soup, and everyone just eating the same bagel week in, week out.  Still, as one example and one snapshot of the passing on of responsibility from the old to the young, it works.  And as I say, the really nice artwork helps.
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An excellent and heartwarming book about the power of love and bagels.
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This is a heartwarming book about a boy who spends every Sunday with his Zaida (grandfather) eating bagels.  But one day Zaida does not come.  Turns out he took a bad fall.  Now Eli gets to be the one to deliver the baked goods.  Wonderful illustrations help this story come to life.  I love the inclusion of Yiddish words, and there is a glossary in the front for those that need it.
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This is a great book about family culture and tradition. 

Overall it is a nice book, and offers something different from the genre we read often. While the main concept of the story is positive, the story line is not quite tight, and left several loopholes. For example, the day that his grandfather's friend came for the first time, there is nothing work as barrier to stop the boy from buying bagels, or even have that wish of getting bagels. The location depicted in this book is apparently in the city, meaning that grocery stores are often within blocks. It does not make sense if the boy goes to store the week after but not this week, unless there is something in the book indicating clearly. 

Apparently the author wanted to use chicken soup as the start of transition, and gradually adding weights to that part. While the problem is that there is no clear internal struggle of that boy before the chicken soup. As a result, when I first read chicken soup, the first impression was that the story structure is not tight. Because in this book, the "set-up then payoff" structure is somewhat vague in this book.
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The Bagel King was a great story of family, friendship, dependability and kindness. The relationships between Zaida and the grandson as well as zaida and his friends were felt through the story. Those are the best types of stories. I could feel the grandfather's love radiating through the words and actions he took. I felt the same when the story turned and the grandson was the one returning the favor. The Bagel King would be an excellent addition to every classroom looking to diversify their collection and allow children to have windows, mirrors and sliding glass doors.
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I especially like this book because my girlfriend (who’s Jewish) has opened my mind to Yiddish. (Though I had heard words like “oy!” and “schmutz”.) 



Um, I want a sesame seed bagel with smoked salmon AND a plain bagel with cream cheese AND a poppy seed bagel with pickled herring. 

Oh my gosh! This book is the cutest book ever. And if you have someone Jewish in your family that you love, it’s that much better.
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This delightful book focuses on a lovely relationship between a grandfather and his beloved grandson.  The bonding glue between the two?  Bagels.

Every Sunday Zaida goes to Merv's Bakery to buy bagels.  Sometimes his grandson Eli goes with him. Mrs. Rose always treats  Eli to one of her scrumptious pickles right out of the jar that she keeps on the shelf behind the counter.  Zaida and Eli think they are the best pickles in the whole wide world.   Usually, though, Eli stays home and his wonderful Zaida hand - delivers those yummy bagels right to his door.

"Eli would hear a familiar Knock! Knock!
"Who's there?"
"It's me!" Zaida would say.  "I've got bagels!"

All year long Zaida, though rain and heat, snow and gloom faithfully brings not only Eli his bagels, but bagels to his friends too.  It truly is an labour of love resulting in a bagel feast fit for a king. 

Bagels were the best thing about Sunday."

Then one Sunday the unspeakable happens.  Zaida does not arrive bearing his tasty gifts.  What possibly could have happened to him?  Zaida is always punctual just like clockwork .... Sunday, bagels, his delivery and the fellowship that ensues.  Something must be terribly wrong. Wherever could he be? 

Eli rushes over to Zaida's to find out what has happened. He discovers that Zaida has accidentally fallen on his tuches and injured himself.   The doctor orders him housebound until he totally recovers.  Eli realizes his grandfather's acts of kindness affect not only himself but the others around him too.  

Eli brings Zaida soup, sees that he gets his rest and even reads to him. He turns into a nurse extraordinaire. Then he gets a brilliant idea...  could he possibly replace his Zaida and become the-bearer- of-the-bagels for everyone to enjoy this Sunday?  What do you think?  I bet he can for sure.  This will make everyone, including his wonderful Zaida, very very happy indeed.  

I like how the Yiddish words are sprinkled throughout the story for everyone to enjoy and gives you a taste into their culture.  The book will spark conversations on family dynamics and the importance of being kind to one another.   The illustrations are full of expression and detail and are a huge asset to the narrative.  I am sure this is a book that when shared will be well received by both the young and the old.
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As soon as I saw the title of this book, The Bagel King, I knew I had to request it and pray that I was approved by the publisher to get an ARC. Now, you might be asking why I, a person who doesn't usually like to read children's books, wanted to read this book so badly. Well, let's start with a story. When I was in elementary school, probably first or second grade, we had an assignment where we needed to go home and ask our parents questions about how they grew up. What school they went to, their favorite memory, who their best friend was; things like that. My dad told me the story about how every day before or after school, he and his friends would go to a local bagel factory and buy warm bagels and stick them in their pockets to keep warm. I have no idea if this story is remotely true, but I chose to believe it is. So, when I saw the title of this book,  I knew I had to see what was on the inside. It did not disappoint. 

Every Sunday morning, no matter the weather, Eli could count on Zaida to bring bagels from Merv's Bakery. Eli loved the time they spent together enjoying their favorite treats. Warm. Chewy. Salty, Eli thought. Bagels were the best thing about Sunday. But one Sunday, Zaida didn't come. He had fallen at Merv's and hurt his tuches, and the doctor said Zaida had to rest at home for two whole weeks. This meant Eli had no Sunday morning bagels. And neither did Zaida's friends, who had been receiving their own weekly deliveries from Zaida. Will they all go hungry for bagels on Sunday? Or is there something Eli can do? 

This story was so charming! It reminded me of parts of my childhood and certain people in my family. I will say if you don't know any basic Yiddish words or didn't grow up with any Jewish people, you might have to look up a few words, but otherwise, this book is delightful and heartwarming. I read it to both my parents. My dad, who is Jewish, and my mom, who is not but has lived with him for over 40 years, both laughed hysterically at the familiar phrases as well as the admiration for the bagel that we know so well. The illustrations by Sandy Nichols are also very well done and each time I reread this book, I found another hidden surprise in each picture. 

This book brought up so many good memories for me. Memories of getting bagels every weekend, of eating pickles my whole life, of knowing words no one else knew (like when I called somebody a gannif in my first grade class and no one knew what the hell I was talking about), of my dad bringing me big deli sandwiches to school and the other kids looking at me like I was crazy. It was a joy to read and I hope Andrew Larsen continues to write books like The Bagel King because as a kid growing up in a place where there were not many Jewish people around, I know I would have treasured this book even more than I do now as an adult. This is another one of those books that I am definitely going to buy when it comes out. It is set to be released May 1, 2018.

Thank you, NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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