Rachel’s Roses

Written by Ferida Wolff
Review by Susan Higginbotham

Rachel Berger is tired of having her little sister tagging along, getting in the way when Rachel wants to be with her friends. Worse, although Rachel is in the third grade and Hannah isn’t even in school, the girls have to dress alike. When their mother, who has just left her job at a tailor shop and is hoping to work for herself as a dressmaker, promises to remake the girls’ old skirts for Rosh Hashanah, Rachel has an idea: at least she can get some pretty buttons for her skirt that won’t be same as her sister’s. But to get the fancy buttons she longs for, glass with red roses inside them, Rachel will have to earn the money to pay for them.

Set in New York’s Lower East Side at the turn of the 20th century, this is a charming novel with a vivid cast of characters. It reminded me of Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family series, which is high praise indeed. Margeaux Lucas’s illustrations make a wonderful book even better.