While arguing over their role in a Passover Seder, twins Sam and Scarlett are whisked away to ancient Egypt on grandmother’s magic carpet.
There, they are enslaved along with the other Jews, and they encounter Moses and Aaron, who involve them in negotiations with Pharaoh to free the slaves. Moses and Pharaoh, who is portrayed as a whining, jealous despot, argue constantly, calling each other childish names. The children witness the devastation of the 10 plagues, triggered when Pharaoh reneges on promises to let the Jews leave Egypt. The 10th plague kills his son Seti, whom the twins have come to admire. They witness the parting of the Red Sea and the bittersweet rejoicing that follows. They return home ready to embrace and share the ritual of the Seder and with a greater respect for their heritage. Kimmel keeps the story flowing at a rapid pace, employing 21st-century tone and syntax for the twins as well as the ancients with whom they interact. Although traditionalists may disapprove of this approach, it’s accessible for modern young readers of all religions and makes it possible for them to gain a modicum of understanding of this distant, biblical past. Stevanovic’s grayscale illustrations also capture the ancient events with a decidedly contemporary manga flavor.
Lively and thought-provoking. (historical note) (Fantasy. 8-12)