Engi­neer Ari and the Passover Rush

Deb­o­rah Bod­in Cohen; Sha­har Kober, illus.
  • Review
By – June 3, 2015

In this fourth title fea­tur­ing Engi­neer Ari, the friend­ly dri­ver of Jerusalem’s first steam engine is mak­ing one last round trip between Jaf­fa and the holy city before the start of Passover. Check­ing the list of items he needs for his seder plate, Ari heads to the sta­tion, stop­ping to talk to his neigh­bors who offer him a roast­ed egg and some charoset in exchange for a box of matzah from Jerusalem. Board­ing the bright red train, Ari and his pas­sen­gers trav­el through the Israeli coun­try­side, stop­ping briefly so Ari can accept some pars­ley and horse­rad­ish from friends along the way. Cross­ing two more items off his list, Ari pulls the train into the sta­tion and hur­ries to the Old City to get a shank bone from the butch­er and matzah for him­self and his friends. Inside the matzah fac­to­ry every­one is rush­ing about, mak­ing sure to fin­ish each batch of matzah in 18 min­utes. Any longer and the matzah might rise like bread,” says Batya the Bak­er. On his way back to Jaf­fa, Ari deliv­ers box­es of matzah to his friends, then dash­es home with his pack­ages just in time to arrange the seder plate before the fes­tiv­i­ties begin. The appeal of the Engi­neer Ari series con­tin­ues to be its con­sis­tent and charm­ing sim­plic­i­ty, which fo­cuses not only on a well known Jew­ish hol­i­day tra­di­tion (e.g. the seder plate), but on a sense of both his­to­ry and com­mu­ni­ty as well. An appeal­ing addi­tion to the hol­i­day book­shelf. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 4 – 7.

Teri Mark­son has been a children’s librar­i­an for over 18 years. She is cur­rent­ly the act­ing senior librar­i­an at the Val­ley Plaza Branch Library in North Hol­ly­wood, CA.

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