Sam­my Spi­der’s First Haggadah

Sylvia A. Rouss; Kather­ine Janus Kahn, illus.
  • Review
By – April 2, 2012
In this third Passover title added to Sam­my Spider’s First Passover and Sam­my Spider’s Passover Fun Book from the pop­u­lar Sam­my Spi­der series, Rouss tells the sto­ry of Passover and explains the hol­i­day in terms that young chil­dren can under­stand. She includes lit­tle songs with melodies sug­gest­ed by Sam­my, such as singing Make Room for Matzah” to the tune of On Top of Old Smokey” and Fill the Seder Plate” to the tune of Lon­don Bridge” There is a check­list of what belongs on the seder table, illus­trat­ed with the objects named in the list. Then she has Sam­my teach the answers to the four ques­tions, in Eng­lish, and the prayers over the can­dles, wine, matzah, bit­ter herbs and charoset, in Eng­lish and Hebrew, with the translit­er­a­tion for each. She pro­vides parts for a read­er and cho­rus to tell the sto­ry of Moses and Passover at the Seder. The book ends with the search for the Afikomen; an orig­i­nal lit­tle song called Crunch Goes the Matzah” (sung to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel”), a bless­ing for after the meal, a brief expla­na­tion of Elijah’s Cup with an accom­pa­ny­ing song, and a translit­er­at­ed Dayenu. No music nota­tion is includ­ed for any of the songs. Kahn’s vivid­ly col­ored cut-paper illus­tra­tions add a live­ly touch to the infor­ma­tive, young child-appro­pri­ate text. The author explains the ten plagues as ten bad things made by God to change Pharaoh’s mind about let­ting the Jew­ish peo­ple leave.” She includes text and illus­tra­tions for four of the plagues: frogs, lice, wheat-eat­ing locusts, and dark­ness, but does not explain the last plague — killing the first-born — in def­er­ence to book’s young audi­ence. This would be excel­lent to use at a fam­i­ly Seder with young chil­dren, and at mod­el Seders for the youngest class­es at school. For ages 3 – 6.
Andrea David­son is the librar­i­an of The Tem­ple-Tifer­eth Israel in Beach­wood, Ohio. She holds an M.L.S. from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan and is a for­mer mem­ber of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards Com­mit­tee. She enjoys try­ing out the books she reviews on the kids at the Tem­ple and on her grandchildren.

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