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Pickle Me This

April 20, 2018

The Bagel King, by Andrew Larsen

We love Andrew Larsen’s new book, The Bagel King, about Eli, whose Sunday morning ritual involves his grandfather arriving with bagels fresh from the bakery. Sometimes Zaida lets Eli come with him, and Eli gets a pickle from the big jar behind the counter, but usually Zaida comes to him. With the bagels. Except one Sunday he doesn’t! Turns out Zaida slipped on some schmaltz and hurt his tuches—and one of the best parts of this book is the Yiddish glossary which means we now know how to say “tuches.” Zaida’s injury has taken the best thing out of Sunday for not only Eli, but also for Zaida’s neighbours, who’d come to rely on his bagel deliveries as well. And so the next Sunday Eli steps in to fill the gap, and it becomes apparent that the bagel kingdom is something a person can inherit. And good thing—because what’s a Sunday without bagels, Zaida asks, in this story about intergenerational relationships, family and neighbourhood connections, the importance of ritual, plus pickles and carbs. “Warm. Chewy. Salty. Bagels were the best thing about Sunday. The best thing, that is, except for Zaida.”

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