Children's Literature - Lois Rubin GrossThis book and CD will be an upbeat addition to many Passover seders and, as Rabbi Joe Back has a sizable following among Jewish family, adding pictures to his happy, bouncy song is an inspired idea. No explanation is given as to what an afikomen is (a whole piece of matzoh hidden by family adults so that children can redeem the prize for a reward), but families who buy this book probably already know. The song itself is a little bit mambo and a little bit reggae. It is catchy, fun to sing, and has a repetitive refrain ("I'm gonna find it, I'm gonna find it, Gonna find the Afikomen") with which children can sing along. The words dance across the page as round faced, bright-eyed children of several races search high and low for the missing matzoh. As the children's ethnicity seems unrelated to the adults with them, this is clearly a Passover book for a new age. The kids in the book are clearing having fun and will inspire fun in young readers. When the concealed Afikomen is finally found, Dad turns lawyerly and suggests a "negotiation" for the reward. It is all good fun and the song will be stuck in your head long after the CD stops. A fine addition to the Passover holiday and perhaps a new tradition in song for your family. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
School Library JournalPreS-Gr 2—Finding the afikomen (the hidden matzah) is a favorite custom during the Jewish holiday of Passover. Black's playful song "Afikomen Mambo" is presented here as an illustrated book-and-CD combo. The music uses a Latin beat to add to the fun of the search, and listeners will want to get up and dance. The bright watercolor illustrations of a multiracial family are lively and a good match for the upbeat song. It must be noted, however, that the lyrics scan awkwardly and do not stand alone without the music. In addition, the pictures confuse the order of events somewhat by showing one child having found the afikomen and then all of the youngsters returning to the hunt; this coincides with the repetition of the chorus at the end of the song ("I'm gonna find it") but makes for a somewhat anticlimactic ending. Despite these quibbles, this kid-friendly book and CD will be popular with children, parents, and educators who are familiar with Passover vocabulary and customs.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
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