THE LONGEST NIGHT

A PASSOVER STORY

A Jewish child living under Pharaoh’s rule narrates the days marred by the devastation caused by the 10 plagues and the Jews’ exodus from Egypt.

Working as hard as any adult slave, this young girl expresses her bewilderment and fear as leaping frogs and itching, biting fleas disturb the masters. Fatal illness creeps in, affecting beast and man except in the Jewish homes marked with lamb’s blood. Rhyming verse carries the Passover story with a lyrical flair. “Made our way to sifting sands, / Scrambling feet, but clasping hands. / Thirsting, thrilling, full of fright— / None of us were slaves that night.” Ominously dark and murky paintings done in acrylic portray the frightened, fleeing throng finally reaching a wild, thrashing sea that is “ripped in two!”  Confusion and trepidation turn to joyful surprise, as indicated by the rose-colored backdrop behind a smiling daughter and mother, thrilled to have crossed over to the open land and freedom. This poetic, child-oriented interpretation brings a dramatic insight and illumination to the ancient legend. A vivid and compelling introduction to the 10 plagues portion of the Seder ceremony. (author’s note, glossary) (Picture book/religion. 5-7)

 

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86942-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A child’s fear is sweetly tempered by the support of an older sister’s comforting, natural solution.

NIGHT LIGHTS

A SUKKOT STORY

On the first night of Sukkot, Daniel is apprehensive about sleeping in the dark sukkah without a night light.

Older sister Naomi likes to show off her knowledge acquired in Hebrew school, so she tells Daniel all about the holiday. She explains how Jews remember the ancestors’ journey from Egypt, why the sukkah is built, and the reason for an open roof made of tree branches. Once the building and decorating of their sukkah is finished, Daniel’s quiet anxiety parallels Naomi’s eager excitement through the family’s outdoor dinner. At bedtime, the siblings create a makeshift sleeping area in a corner of the sukkah. In the dark, scary nighttime noises and shadowy images disturb Daniel to the point where he begins to go inside. But to his surprise, Naomi, who has a touch of the heebie-jeebies herself, encourages him to stay and look up through the branches of the sukkah’s open roof. He sees a sky full of stars, or “night lights,” as they glowed for the ancestors thousands of years ago. Soft paintings provide a contemporary view of a White Jewish family with some parallel historical scenes of the forbearers making their way through the desert. The interwoven explanation of the holiday within the context of the story is enhanced with an afterword that references today’s refugees, who must live under precarious circumstances in temporary shelters.

A child’s fear is sweetly tempered by the support of an older sister’s comforting, natural solution. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68115-547-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A pleasantly satisfying modern addition to the collection.

SHABBAT HICCUPS

Jonah’s incessant hiccupping during the weekly Shabbat observance prompts members of his family to suggest a solution.

Through the early-evening preparations, the candle lighting, blessings, and dinner, Jonah unsuccessfully tries to ignore or control his hiccups. Cousin Eden attempts to scare them away, and Grandma Sue suggests eating some sugar. Grandma Sue then offers a better remedy: to drink a glass of water all in one gulp. This does the trick—until the next evening, after the concluding Havdalah ceremony, when not only does Jonah have a hiccupping setback, but Grandma Sue also seems to need to follow her own advice. The story’s arc nicely folds in all the elements and practice of the weekly Shabbat celebration while maintaining a slightly understated air of amusing angst. In addition, the inclusion of the traditional Havdalah at sundown to bring the daylong observance to an end is effortlessly described, creating a complete picture for the weekly ritual. Animated faces in gouache and crayon depict a youthful family, including a contemporary grandmother with highlighted auburn hair. Jonah and his dad have pale skin and light-brown hair, while his mom and little sister have olive skin and black hair.

A pleasantly satisfying modern addition to the collection. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-7312-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more