on March 25, 2010
Most Passover books focus on either the Exodus from Egypt or the seder ritual. This book attempts to do both. The format of the book follows its subtitle, "Celebrating Now, Remembering Then." The main pages of the book explain how Passover is celebrated, while fold-out pages tell the corresponding parts of the Exodus story. Large-print sentences give simple summaries appropriate for young children. The small print continues in more detail and uses the high-level vocabulary of standard haggadah translations. The text covers a lot of ground quickly, and seems intended not as an introduction but rather as a refresher for readers already familiar with Passover. The beautiful artwork is really what makes the book, and much is conveyed visually. Page borders of vines, flowers, and pomegranates display the traditional Jewish art style of ketubahs and illuminated manuscripts. The large fold-out illustrations depict the landscape of the ancient middle east. The violent parts of the story are portrayed graphically yet tastefully, gently nudging young readers to acknowledge the brutality of slavery and the miracle of redemption. Upon seeing these pictures, my six-year-old, who has read dozens of Passover stories, was struck for the first time that children were also slaves. My three-year-old found the burning bush visually arresting. (He also considered the fold-out pages to be lift-the-flaps, which helped the book hold his interest.) The upper age range of the book depends upon the reader's interest in art. I would generally recommend the book for ages four to eight, but I know that at least some of my fifth grade students would happily peruse these paintings, and I bought the book knowing that whether or not it was a hit with my kids, I would enjoy it myself.
on March 18, 2011
For the littlest kids who are just learning about Passover, this is the book. I have recently gone through a large stack of Passover resources, and my kids (ages three through eight yrs) liked this one the most. It is so nice because each page has a fold out explaining just one aspect of the seder (i.e. the kiddush cup). My kids had all heard these terms before, but got their questions answered about each little thing. THis is definitely the way young children think, and they will benefit from the format of this book. The pages are friendly, the illustrations are beautiful, and it ties what we do now with what happened then throughout the book, one by one.
The only thing i would suggest is that you get a good kids version of the Passover/Exodus story. I think this book is best for helping kids understand the connection between what happened and the celebration we conduct. But a good retelling of the whole story at once is probably also needed too. (My kids already knew the stories well from Bible study).