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.