Passover With a Twist

Ben­jie Her­skowitz; Avi Katz, illus.
  • Review
By – March 30, 2015

Rachel and her fam­i­ly sit around the table at the Seder as her father begins to tell the sto­ry of the Hagad­dah. He dra­mat­i­cal­ly describes the escape of the Jews from Egypt and the parts played by Moses and Aaron. His descrip­tions are in live­ly, col­lo­qui­al, idiomat­ic Eng­lish, caus­ing Rachel to vivid­ly imag­ine each scene as if her father’s words were lit­er­al­ly accu­rate. The words spo­ken to Pharaoh by Moses go in one ear and out the oth­er.” Pharaoh is as stub­born as a mule” and in spite of the first nine plagues, he just wants to bury his head in the sand.” Of course, there comes a moment when he just has to eat his words” and let the Jew­ish peo­ple go. Each scene that Rachel envi­sions is accom­pa­nied by an amus­ing illus­tra­tion, bright­ly col­ored, imag­i­na­tive­ly con­ceived and com­i­cal­ly exe­cut­ed based on her father’s phras­es as he recounts the tale. When Pharaoh final­ly has to eat his words,” the bowl of alpha­bet cere­al sit­ting in front of him spells out no way.” He is gri­mac­ing dis­taste­ful­ly at the words but scoop­ing them up in his spoon and prepar­ing to swal­low them. The idioms are defined in con­text as the read­er goes along and also grouped togeth­er with their expla­na­tions at the begin­ning of the book. This is a com­bined les­son in Jew­ish his­to­ry and the in the joys of play­ing with lan­guage and it is great fun for fam­i­ly mem­bers to enjoy togeth­er. A bright­ly col­ored, illus­trat­ed chil­dren’s Hag­gadah is ap- pend­ed. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 5 – 11

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

Discussion Questions