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MAX MAKES A CAKE by Michelle Edwards


by Michelle Edwards ; illustrated by Charles Santoso

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-449-81431-4
Publisher: Random House

Edwards offers a story about Passover, but it might be a bad idea to read it during the holiday—particularly toward the end.

It’s Mama’s birthday and the first night of Passover, and Max is intent on baking her a cake. Max’s dad is busy with the new baby, and he doesn’t have time to help. Max comes up with a novel solution: He stacks pieces of matzo into a huge pile and covers them with jam and cream cheese. He even finds a tiny candle and places it on top for his mother’s birthday. A piece of matzo—as Jewish readers will know—is a flat, tasteless cracker, which Jews eat on Passover as bread is forbidden during the holiday. The holiday lasts for more than a week, so as inventive as Max’s solution is, observant Jews may think: There is nothing less appetizing than a giant stack of matzo. Readers will admire Max’s creativity, no matter how they feel about unleavened bread. They may be less happy with the stilted dialogue. Max tells his sister, “A long time ago, the Jews were slaves in Egypt. When Pharaoh freed them, they had to hurry, hurry, hurry away with their bread on their backs.” Max’s zeal is charming, but readers may find themselves thinking, more than once: No child has ever said that sentence.

Well-intentioned but, alas, as dry as matzo.

(Picture book. 3-6)