WELCOMING ELIJAH by Lesléa Newman

WELCOMING ELIJAH

A Passover Tale with a Tail
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Passover nights are different, happily so for a boy and a kitten.

It’s a Seder night, and a boy and his large family welcome guests to the festive holiday celebration. There are many rituals in the evening, including filling a cup of wine for the prophet Elisha, but his favorite is opening the door to welcome Elijah in. Writing in contrasting couplets, Newman relates the many elements of the holiday as “inside” activities. There are also “outside” goings-on. A fluffy white cat in the yard does feline things that seem to mimic what the family and their guests are doing except in one respect. The family enjoys plenty of good food while the kitten “swishe[s] his skinny tail.” Finally it is time to hold open the door, and who should be standing there but that irresistibly appealing fluffy white kitten. Boy and kitten, to be named Elijah of course, embrace as the others look on in joy. Gal’s softly smudged illustrations, rendered in ink, charcoal, and digital collage, warmly reflect the text’s contrasts, with bright yellows illuminating the household and iridescent blues bathing the outdoor scenes. The family and friends are racially diverse, with both black- and white-presenting group members. The boy himself presents white; the men wear kippot.

While not the traditional holiday outcome, it should please celebrants and cat lovers all. (author’s note, list of Seder rituals) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-58089-882-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2020




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