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.


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

Rachel Kamin has been a syn­a­gogue librar­i­an and Jew­ish edu­ca­tor for over twen­ty-five years and has worked at North Sub­ur­ban Syn­a­gogue Beth El in High­land Park, IL since 2008, cur­rent­ly serv­ing as the Direc­tor of Life­long Learn­ing. A past chair of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee and past edi­tor of Book Reviews for Chil­dren & Teens for the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries News & Reviews, her arti­cles and book reviews appear in numer­ous pub­li­ca­tions. She has been a mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Library Association’s Sophie Brody Book Award Com­mit­tee since 2021.

Discussion Questions