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THE LONGEST NIGHT by Laurel Snyder


A Passover Story

by Laurel Snyder & illustrated by Cátia Chien

Pub Date: Feb. 12th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-375-86942-6
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

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)