Not For Kids Only: New Books for Passover
More Than Enough By April Halprin Wayland. Illustrations by Katie Kath (Dial Books for Young Readers, 40 pp. $16.99)
Passover as a festival of gratitude suffuses every page of this colorful, charming story of a happy brother and sister. The refrain of “Dayenu” trails after them as they shop in the farmers’ market, helping their mother select “apples and walnuts, lilacs and honey.” They sing “Dayenu” as they chop the ingredients for the charoset and later lead a very loud and happy chorus of “Dayenu” at their Nana’s beautiful seder table. Indeed, they have more than enough, including a Passover kitten rescued from an animal
shelter just in time for the holiday.
Ages 3 to 5.
The Passover Cowboy By Barbara Diamond Goldin. lllustrations by Gina Capaldi (Apples and Honey Press, 32 pp. $17.95)
Young Jacob and his family have just arrived in Argentina from Russia as part of the migration supported by Baron Maurice de Hirsch in the late 19th century. The wonderful aromas filling his little house remind him of happy Passovers in Russia. As he arranges the ritual items on his family’s silver seder plate, he wonders if his new friend, Benito, will come to share the festive meal. “Inviting guests to the seder…it’s a mitzvah,” his mother says. Benito arrives just in time to capture three invading chickens. He tells Jacob that the holiday has meaning for him because in Argentina, “we struggled for our freedom too….” Wearing their ponchos and bombachas (loose, wide pants) and twirling their lassos, the two friends of different faiths are Passover cowboys, embracing the ideals of peace and freedom.
Ages 4 to 8.
How It’s Made: Matzah By Allison Ofanansky. Photographs by Eliyahu Alpern (Apples and Honey Press, 32 pp. $15.95)
Matzah is transformed into a fun experience in this picture book that also explores the meaning of Passover. An explanation of why we eat matzah—appropriately called “the ultimate fast food,” given that it is baked in 18 minutes—is enhanced with photographs. The dedicated matzah makers are joyous as they race from mixing bowl to the “very hot oven.” Included are recipes for do-it-yourself matzah and instructions for making matzah covers, seder plates and an Elijah’s cup. This holiday handbook is beautifully bound to last for many Passovers. Ages 5 to 8.
The Family (and Frog!) Haggadah By Rabbi Ron Isaacs and Karen Rostoker-Gruber. Illustrations by Jackie Urbanovic (Behrman House, 56 pp. $7.95)
This innovative Haggadah stars Frog (yes, he of the plague). The traditional text is peppered with Frog’s mischievous contributions and complaints. In a play on the word seder, which means order, Frog asks, “Hey, can we change the seder of the seder and sing first?” Frog helps us search for chametz as well as burn it safely.
There are lively games and provocative topics for discussion. Hopefully, players of all ages will survive the challenging game of Hot Matzah Ball. The Haggadah juxtaposes Jackie Urbanovic’s playful frog art with historical illustrations such as “Passover Cleaning” from the 1320 Golden Haggadah and a 1901 framed souvenir from the Fifth
Ages 8 to 12.