The Canadian Jewish News: Toronto, Ontario

The book “Why, Zaida?” by Alvin Abram, illustrated by Judy Willemsma, talks about that kind of person – a grandfather who talks about the Holocaust only after his grandson asks and asks. Nevertheless, the grandfather has to answer his grandson. He does this with the time-honoured technique of parables, stories that help teach a lesson – a robin eating a worm, a dog chasing a squirrel, a leaf caught in a stream, a grassy bank. Every page has beautiful illustrations in lush greens, blues and browns.

Leila Speisman


Jewish Free Press: Calgary, Alberta

Author uses metaphors from nature to explain the Holocaust. Why, Zaida explains the brutality of the unnamed Nazi regime and its collaborators by drawing another analogy as they see a dog attempting to prey on a squirrel. Likewise, he likens evil to weeds, which threatens the good grass if left unchecked. Abram generalizes the story – perhaps to provide a gentle more universal approach to young readers first being introduced to the potentially traumatic subject matter.

Maxine Fischbein