There are so many great things about this book, undermined by this one shitty trope that just wasn’t necessary. So this one is complicated.
There’s an okay attempt at an inclusive holiday get-together. Our two lesbian grandmothers, Bubbie Ida Flora (depicted as feminine, with white skin), and Bubbie Rose (depicted as leaning toward masculine, also white) host a Seder dinner. There’s a bald white woman (her role is unclear), a person accompanied by a guide dog who codes as Blind, a child wearing a dress, long curly hair, and a headband who uses he/him pronouns, another child who uses they/them, some token people of color and a few multiracial families.
The illustrations are a little wobbly and unfinished (everyone looks like they are wearing flesh mittens). But you got some folks with darker brown and lighter brown skin. Some beige. I appreciate the effort, as books about Jewish holidays often leave out people of color. However it’s important to note that the book depicts the hosting grandparents as white, with only white or multiracial children of white people wearing kippas. The guests of color look like they married in or were…invited. It’s not quite Get Out-level obvious, but I kept searching for hints that the darker skin tones had some agency and didn’t find any. This is a problem, what with the great whitewashing of Judaism in kidlit.
But yay for normalizing lesbian grandmas! And a Blind character with agency who helps search for the afikomen! And a couple gender-non-conforming kids! And vaguely including/tokenizing people with alopecia and/or going through cancer treatments! (Unclear!)
Per tradition, Bubbie Ida Flora breaks the afikoman (Passover matzah) and hides it. All the young people spend an inordinate amount of time and effort searching for it. Because it turns out, Bubbie forgot where she hid it.
Actually, she didn’t even hide it, because she completely forgot to even do that, despite standing up and walking away from the table to do just that. Because she’s old! And old people forget things that happened just a couple minutes ago. So flighty, these old ladies. (/sarcasm).
It wouldn’t be an issue – if this wasn’t an intensely common trope that pops up over and over. Grandma is always the source of the humor in these stereotypes about ‘senior moments,’ and older adults are always butt of the jokes.
It seems light-hearted. Not a big deal. Until you realize how many older women are discriminated against employment, fired, forced into institutions, and refused medical care and life-saving support because they’re dismissed as batty and forgetful.
This shit is killing women. Stop.