Chil­dren’s

Frogs in the Bed: My Passover Seder Activ­i­ty Book

  • Review
By – April 1, 2014

The 1950s Passover clas­sic, One morn­ing when Pharaoh awoke in bed, there were frogs in the bed and frogs on his head…” by Shirley Cohen Stein­berg is bold­ly illus­trat­ed with Ann Koffsky’s vibrant, col­or­ful, ani­mat­ed, and humor­ous paint­ings. But, with no tran­si­tion or expla­na­tion, the book abrupt­ly turns into a Seder activ­i­ty book where chil­dren can match the items on the seder plate to their sym­bol­ism, recite the four ques­tions in Hebrew, translit­er­a­tion, and Eng­lish, retell the sto­ry of Passover with a com­ic strip, munch Matzah into dif­fer­ent shapes, cor­rect the sil­ly Seder scene, solve the afikomen maze, and cre­ate an Elijah’s cup and a jump­ing frog­gie. The pub­lish­er explains that the book is built around key moments in the seder to encour­age young chil­dren to par­tic­i­pate, no mat­ter which hag­gadah you use.” For the most part the activ­i­ties are clever and cre­ative and will suc­ceed at engag­ing chil­dren at the Seder. How­ev­er, the Frogs in the Bed” sto­ry tacked onto the front of the activ­i­ty book seems out of place and con­se­quent­ly the vol­ume as a whole suf­fers from an iden­ti­ty cri­sis. Both parts are deserv­ing of their own sep­a­rate book; togeth­er they are con­fus­ing and disjointed.

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 3 – 8.

Inter­view

Read Michal Hoschan­der Malen’s inter­view with Ann Koff­sky here.

Rachel Kamin is the Direc­tor of the Joseph and Mae Gray Cul­tur­al & Learn­ing Cen­ter at North Sub­ur­ban Syn­a­gogue Beth El in High­land Park, Illi­nois. A past chair of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee, Rachel is cur­rent­ly the co-edi­tor of Book Reviews for Chil­dren & Teens for the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries Newslet­ter. She holds a BA in his­to­ry from Grin­nell Col­lege and a master’s degree in library and infor­ma­tion sci­ence from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michigan.

Discussion Questions