Books by S. Daniel Guttman

THE PASSOVER ZOO SEDER by S. Daniel  Guttman
Released: March 1, 2011

How can Passover be celebrated at the zoo when the only Haggadah is too worn to read? Shai Elephant, who is not shy, suggests an oral recitation based on memory, complete with assigned parts for each animal. Sheep bleats the traditional four questions—"Maaah Nishtanaaah"—and Horsey and Donkey whinny "all of Dah-yaynoo," while Lion approves with his "Ma-Roar!" Many a large family Seder can appear to be zoo-like in its atmosphere, with a large crowd of adults and children who often contribute to a din. Yet this hokey, banal parody fails to bring any charm or amusement to juvenile Passover literature. Fun is an appropriate part of a cheerful and joyous family Seder, but reading aloud this forced, unmetered rhyme with its complicated series of tongue-twisters and pun-oriented dialogue, as instructed by the author, is as tedious as a drawn-out adult ceremonial dinner. "Pharoah-proud Peacocks paraded, the abject slaves of new fashion. / Whitefish were Gefilte—snacks Loony Loons crave with passion. / Marvelous Marmoset Marvie murmured Mom's Hadleek Nair / She got too close to the candles, slightly singeing her hair." Crude pen-and-crayon drawings add to the painful absurdity of this telling. (Picture book/religion. 5-8)Read full book review >