THE YANKEE AT THE SEDER

On the first night of Passover, days after the Civil War has ended, Jacob sits on his porch snacking on a piece of matzoh. When Yankee soldier Myer Levy wanders by and notices him, he wishes Jacob a good holiday and asks if he might share. Surprised and a bit fearful, Jacob runs inside to inform his mother “there’s a...a Yankee Jew outside!” Putting politics and war aside and following Jewish tradition, Jacob’s mother invites Levy to join the family’s seder. Weber’s story is based on true events and explores the paradox and controversy of owning slaves for wealthy Southern Jews. Using the framework of the traditional Four Questions, the narrative ignites a dialogue between Myer and his host, Mr. Josephson, drawing a connection between the holiday’s celebration of freedom from slavery and the underlying cause of the Civil War. The handsome design features decoratively framed text boxes opposite Gustavson’s expressive, realistic oil paintings. Should spark discussion around the seder table and in classrooms of history. (glossary, historical notes) (Picture book/religion. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-58246-256-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2009

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A Christmas cozy, read straight or bit by bit through the season.

HOW WINSTON DELIVERED CHRISTMAS

Neither snow nor rain nor mountains of yummy cheese stay the carrier of a letter to Santa.

So carelessly does 8-year-old Oliver stuff his very late letter to Santa into the mailbox that it falls out behind his back—leaving Winston, a “small, grubby white mouse” with an outsized heart, determined to deliver it personally though he has no idea where to go. Smith presents Winston’s Christmas Eve trek in 24 minichapters, each assigned a December “day” and all closing with both twists or cliffhangers and instructions (mostly verbal, unfortunately) for one or more holiday-themed recipes or craft projects. Though he veers occasionally into preciosity (Winston “tried to ignore the grumbling, rumbling noises coming from his tummy”), he also infuses his holiday tale with worthy values. Occasional snowy scenes have an Edwardian look appropriate to the general tone, with a white default in place but a few dark-skinned figures in view. Less-crafty children will struggle with the scantly illustrated projects, which run from paper snowflakes to clothespin dolls and Christmas crackers with or without “snaps,” but lyrics to chestnuts like “The 12 Days of Christmas” (and “Jingle Bells,” which is not a Christmas song, but never mind) at the end invite everyone to sing along.

A Christmas cozy, read straight or bit by bit through the season. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-983-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

TWENTY-ONE ELEPHANTS

Fact and fiction dovetail neatly in this tale of a wonderfully resolute child who finds a memorable way to convince her father that the newly-finished Brooklyn Bridge is safe to cross. Having watched the great bridge going up for most of her young life, Hannah is eager to walk it, but despite repeated, fact-laced appeals to reason (and Hannah is a positive fount of information about its materials and design), her father won’t be moved: “No little girl of mine will cross that metal monster!” Hannah finally hatches a far-fetched plan to convince him once and for all; can she persuade the renowned P.T. Barnum to march his corps of elephants across? She can, and does (actually, he was already planning to do it). Pham places Hannah, radiating sturdy confidence, within sepia-toned, exactly rendered period scenes that capture both the grandeur of the bridge in its various stages of construction, and the range of expressions on the faces of onlookers during its opening ceremonies and after. Readers will applaud Hannah’s polite persistence. (afterword, resources) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-87011-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2004

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more