Lot­sa Matzah

Til­da Bal­s­ley, Ake­mi Gutier­rez, illus.
  • Review
By – September 12, 2013

Appeal­ing board books can sell any­thing to tots, if the adorable works. This new one is a good one. The top­ic is a piece of Passover tra­di­tion: matzah. In quick order author Til­da Bal­s­ley describes matzah, explains how it got that way, shows what it means to Jews and how it fits into the Seder ser­vice includ­ing hunt­ing for the afikomen (note: for fun, not prizes) and, of course, men­tions eat­ing matzah end­less­ly for a week. This breath­less rush of infor­ma­tion (no bored lis­ten­ers here) arrives in cou­plets that stay in meter; only one strug­gles with its rhyme. Except for the last page, the text is not up to Balsley’s usu­al clever rhyming; how­ev­er, the rhymes suf­fice for the age group. The warm, joy­ous illus­tra­tions rush all over, tire­less­ly, just like the tar­get­ed audi­ence. Per­fect for greasy hands and teeth tempt­ed to chew, this lat­est addi­tion to the board book pile has lot­sa” plus­es: more con­tent than most, well told, well orga­nized, well thought-out, well drawn. It con­tains sound infor­ma­tion in a cap­ti­vat­ing way and is rec­om­mend­ed for ages 2 – 4 

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.

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