• Review
By – April 15, 2024

With her trade­mark sense of light­heart­ed fun, author-illus­tra­tor Amalia Hoff­man presents read­ers with a delight­ful fam­i­ly of bears who are cel­e­brat­ing the Passover seder. The lit­tle bear is an inven­tor; he turns his toy ele­phant into an Afiko-Snif­fer” to sniff out where grand­ma will hide the afikomen.

Once the seder starts, young Bear can­not wait until the mid­dle matzah is bro­ken and hid­den. The sto­ry shows the many steps need­ed to cre­ate the seder plate. As the young bears help pre­pare this cer­e­mo­ni­al plate, read­ers learn what goes on it and what each dish is made of. Bear trains his ele­phant Afiko-Snif­fer to find these items. It does — but alas, it fails to find the hid­den matzah. When Bear grabs his tool kit to repair his elephant’s snif­fer, the afikomen falls out of the chest. Hooray, Bear wins the prize!

Pic­tures depict an extend­ed fam­i­ly, with three gen­er­a­tions cel­e­brat­ing hap­pi­ly togeth­er. The book’s bright col­ors and sim­ple graph­ics are sure to engage read­ers. A brief note at the end explains the Greek roots of the word afikomen.

Ellen G. Cole, a retired librar­i­an of the Levine Library of Tem­ple Isa­iah in Los Ange­les, is a past judge of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards and a past chair­per­son of that com­mit­tee. She is a co-author of the AJL guide, Excel­lence in Jew­ish Children’s Lit­er­a­ture. Ellen is the recip­i­ent of two major awards for con­tri­bu­tion to Juda­ic Librar­i­an­ship, the Fan­ny Gold­stein Mer­it Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries and the Dorothy Schroed­er Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. She is on the board of AJLSC.

Discussion Questions