This book offers a straightforward retelling of the Passover story for young children with eager hands. Illustrations are colorful and the “lift-the-flap” element offers delightful visual surprises. A double page spread of the fleeing Jews at night is compelling, and when Moses’ staff turns into a snake just to eat the magician’s staff, the result is indeed miraculous in composition and humor. However, the story is recalled in a neutral, omniscient voice, which does not give the reader any emotional sense of the dramatic story. After retelling the story of the Exodus from Egypt, Hanft uses the last pages to explain some of the history of Seder and the special foods on the Seder plate. He concludes with the traditional wish, “We wait for the time when Elijah will announce the day of peace for everyone. We end the seder with these words, NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM.” For ages 3 – 6.
Sarah Aronson holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She is a full time writer and has recently published her first novel, Head Case (Roaring Brook) for young adults. Sara blogs every Thursday for the Lilith blog.