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Passover Magic Paperback – March 1, 1998

25 customer reviews

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Combining art and heart with storytelling genius and a lilting twang, Judy Schachner's tale of unexpected friendship will delight readers young and old. Hardcover | Kindle book

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The creators of Hanukkah! here offer an affectionate portrait of a family Passover seder, with text and pictures chockablock with intricate, often amusing details. The star of this beguiling brood is Uncle Harry, a part-time prestidigitator whose profession may be "pulling teeth out of people's mouths" but whose true love is "pulling rabbits out of people's hats." From his arrival with gifts galore and a new bride ("This is my lucky charm-this is my Eda"), Harry's high jinks confirm the tale's originality. It's not only the busy kitchen that generates warmth: the story, told through daughter Molly's engaging voice, captures the emotions of a joyful family gathering while unobtrusively weaving in abundant information about a complex ritual. Hafner's bustling illustrations, at once cartoony and realistic, imbue this clan with individuality galore. From Aunt Eda in her "sparkling" costume to ever-groggy Uncle Arnold to Grandma as she approvingly presides over the chicken soup, these folks know how to share the magic. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2?This story of an extended family's celebration of Passover is clever, but flawed. As aunts, uncles, and cousins arrive at Molly's house, inviting scenes show three generations preparing for and celebrating the Seder. The magic enters with Uncle Harry, a dentist-cum-magician who amuses the children with his tricks, including the traditional hiding of the afikomen. He implores them to think carefully about the importance of the holiday before he reveals the whereabouts of the matzoh and the prizes for its return. The book ends with a one-page explanation of the holiday's history and customs. Nowhere does the author mention that bread and baked goods are removed from the house during Passover and replaced with food made with matzoh flour. Also, her note that lettuce can replace horseradish on the Seder plate is incorrect?it can replace parsley. Hafner's attractive, brightly colored, cartoonlike illustrations exude the warmth of a loving family cooking, eating, dancing, and relaxing together, but are inconsistent: in one picture, it's dark outside, while in the next it is broad daylight. For children unfamiliar with this important holiday, this title provides an incomplete and confusing introduction. Marilyn Hirsh's I Love Passover (Holiday, 1985; o.p.) and A Family Passover (Jewish Publication Society, 1980) are better choices.?Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers (March 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316779288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316779289
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,609,223 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
A merry and heartwarming story with a dentist uncle who moonlights as a magician. When he attends the Passover seder with his new wife he is chosen to hide the matzoh. Will he use his magician skills and make the matzoh disappear forever? Will the lively children in this story ever be able to retrieve it? An unusual story that both introduces the warmth and detail of the Passover holiday and, at the same time, tells a funny, delightful family-oriented story. Accessible to people of any religion, this is an unusually good book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Book Addict on March 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
Our Christian family is interested in the passover and found two books at the local library; this being one of them. This is a sweet story that has a lot of details of the seder woven seamlessly into what is foremost a story of a particular family's celebration and love. We really enjoyed it and felt that maybe we were there also -- never having been to an actual seder. We also really liked the educational quality of the highly detailed non-fiction book "Celebrating Passover" by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Yakov Hadash VINE VOICE on January 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"Passover Magic" is a nicely presented picture book that tells the story of what happens at a well-attended Passover Seder from the point of view of a young girl. Uncle Harry, a magician, shows up to spice up the evening somewhat. I can imagine this story being used with young kids in a Hebrew School to reinforce to them what happens at a Seder, or perhaps with non-Jewish kids in some kind of multiculturalism program. I enjoyed reading it because it reminded me of the seders I used to experience growing up in New York back when a lot of my family was within driving distance.

Note that the book is all about the mechanics of a Seder -- there is not a lot of delving into the story of the Exodus itself. In the back of the book there is a one-page summary of what Passover is all about, and an English rendering of the Four Questions.

If you're looking for a children's book for the Passover Seder, this would be a good choice.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alcee Arobin VINE VOICE on December 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a really cute, richly illustrated book about Passover. While the story is not all that original, it would serve as a great introduction to Passover for younger children. The "Magic" of the title has a double meaning for the young narrator: the magic-like quality of Passover traditions, as well as the magic that her Uncle Harry (a part-time magician) performs every year. The book concludes with a succinct overview of the history of Passover including traditions and their origins, and the final page asks the four questions of "Why is this night different from all other nights?" By the end of the book, a child should be able to answer all four.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Natasha Stryker TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My hubby read this to our almost 3 year old daughter and she listened through the whole book while on his lap looking at the great illustrations. The pictures of family and togetherness and traditions are all very nice. I recommend this as a good intro to Passover for kids.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's wonderful to see the Marshall Cavendish Children line re-issue this 1995 endearing Classic celebrating the family togetherness that Passover brings. The illustrations are quirky and a little bit "busy" at times, but that is part of their charm. While there is some teaching at the end which explains the Origins of Passover and lists the Four Questions, this is really a fun storybook about a large family coming together to enjoy a Holiday meal. The focus is on the childrens' experiences of the busy preparations, the hustle & bustle arrival of idiosyncratic but lovable family and finally the grand entrance of family comedian and entertainer, Uncle Harry the Dentist who is also a Magician on the side. We've heard a lot about him already and he is a "character", alright! The love and anticipation of his arrival is apparent and he doesn't disappoint. Uncle Harry is portrayed as a mensch and the children adore him for it! He is also gentle and clever in using his magical talents to present gifts to the family.

The book will delight children who anticpate such holidays that gather far flung family especially since much of the book details the many hours of joyful prepartion of the traditional foods which are named in italics but not really explained. As the sun sets, the family open their Haggadot, again named but not clearly explained, and the Seder begins. If I have any criticisms of this book it is only that this story is intended for children who already know what Haroset is or why Papa and Grandpa roast a bone and prepare certain herbs for the Seder plate. This IS all explained at the end, but for children unfamilair with these sacred prepartions or who are not Jewish, a parent could choose to read the back pages FIRST and only THEN read the story.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My daughter (almost 5) is very familiar with the Biblical account of the Exodus and the first passover but had no idea of how it is celebrated by Jewish people today. I have atteder a few seders before but my understanding was limited. With Passover in a couple of days I was excited to review the story of the first passover, the instruction for Jewish people to continue the passover meal as a perpetual remebrance, and how the passover points forward to Jesus as perfect and final passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7).

Passover Magic is a good story with excellent illustrations and fun characters, particularly the magician-dentist Uncle makes for a fun background to discuss passover. I wish there were more mention of what passover actually is about, but the references are there and easily led to review and dialog about the first passover. The illustrations are very well done and make for a fun book that a pre-reader would enjoy flipping through independently after reading the story. The focus is on the way that one family gathers annually to celebrate the passover and the focus of the story is therefore on their celebration and not particularly on what they are celebrating. The reason I am giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is the very fleeting discussion of the first passover. Even as the family reads their haggadot and the questions related to the first passover are asked, the responses are not given or summarized. Instead the focus is on the tradition through the first person eyes of the young girl, Molly.

Nevertheless, overall it will be enjoyed by Jewish families seeing another family celebrate passover. And non-Jewish families can learn of a very important celebration they might be unfamiliar with.
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