THE ELIJAH DOOR

A PASSOVER TALE

The prudent message that all Jews are one family rings out clearly and joyfully.

A foolish argument creates a feud that can only be resolved through a wisely engineered pretense.

The Galinskys and the Lippas trade geese and hens with unequal results. When the geese die and an unreasonable misunderstanding ensues, the family elders cut off their longstanding friendship. But David Lippa and Rachel Galinsky, like Romeo and Juliet, wish to marry. They seek the Rabbi’s advice to bring the two families together and involve the rest of the villagers in a ruse to gain invitations from their feuding parents for the yearly Passover Seder. “One by one the neighbors came…. pleading injury, poverty, bad planning, or broken dishes.” Preparations for the mammoth ceremonial dinner include a lot of furniture—stretching from each family’s house until two long, winding tables almost connect between backyards. Heeding the Rabbi’s plea for joyous celebration “in our love for each other,” the feud ends, with the Rabbi’s own table unifying the two dinners before the Seder begins. But how to welcome Elijah outside? David and Rachel go back inside to open the unused front door for the symbolic gesture. Old-world storytelling depicting a bygone era of Eastern European shtetl life is augmented by folk-art–inspired, roughly detailed woodcuts hand-colored with watercolor inks.

The prudent message that all Jews are one family rings out clearly and joyfully. (Picture book/religion. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8234-1911-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

HOW TO CATCH A LOVEOSAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses.

An elusive new quarry leads the How To Catch… kids on a merry chase through a natural history museum.

Taking at least a step away from the “hunters versus prey” vibe of previous entries in the popular series, the racially diverse group of young visitors dashes through various museum halls in pursuit of the eponymous dino—whose quest to “spread kindness and joy ’round the world” takes the form of a mildly tumultuous museum tour. In most of Elkerton’s overly sweet, color-saturated scenes, only portions of the Loveosaurus, who is purple and covered with pink hearts, are visible behind exhibits or lumbering off the page. But the children find small enticements left behind, from craft supplies to make cards for endangered species to pictures of smiley faces, candy heart–style personal notes (“You Rock!” “Give Hugs”), and, in the hall of medieval arms and armor, a sign urging them to “Be Honest Be Kind.” The somewhat heavy-handed lesson comes through loud and clear. “There’s a message, he wants us to think,” hints Walstead to clue in more obtuse readers…and concluding scenes of smiling people young and otherwise exchanging hugs and knuckle bumps, holding doors for a wheelchair rider, and dancing through clouds of sparkles indicate that they, at least, have gotten it. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sugary uplift, shrink-wrapped for the masses. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 9781728268781

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

I KNOW AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A DREIDEL

Fun, in an odd sort of way.

The old folk song is given a Hanukkah spin in a parody that blends Jewish tradition with art appreciation.

The kerchiefed grandma swallows a tiny dreidel placed atop her cream-cheesed bagel by the family cat, setting off the familiar chain of events. She swallows the oil, the latkes, 10 barrels of applesauce, a 20-ton brisket, a “mine full of gelt, before it could melt,” the menorah and candles until she is finally full. A large burp makes her feel better. The silliness, cadence and rhythm of the verse all work with the original tune; it can be a tongue twister at times but will keep kids engaged. “I know an old lady who swallowed a menorah— / A mountainous menorah, while we danced the hora.” Acrylic-based drawings using charcoal, pen and pencil place this bubbe in various scenes taken from classical paintings, providing an educational twist. She appears in comical versions of Munch’s The Scream and Vermeer’s The Milkmaid. The applesauce in a red-and-white can spoofs Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Cans, and the menorah is set against the background of van Gogh’s The Starry Night. Adults will see the humor but might wonder about the artist’s point in his note stating that “a new look at famous works of art seemed like the perfect way to help people of all backgrounds enjoy this fresh take on an ancient holiday.”

Fun, in an odd sort of way. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-439-91530-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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