The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah

( 2 )


In this rollicking version of a favorite folktale, a harried, hardworking hen finds the true meaning of Passover.

Oy gevalt! The Little Red Hen likes baking matzah, but she's not so crazy about doing everything herself. Would it be too much to ask her friends Dog, Horse, and Sheep to help plant and harvest some wheat for the delicious Passover treat? Couldn't they at least help schlep the wheat to the mill? A...

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In this rollicking version of a favorite folktale, a harried, hardworking hen finds the true meaning of Passover.

Oy gevalt! The Little Red Hen likes baking matzah, but she's not so crazy about doing everything herself. Would it be too much to ask her friends Dog, Horse, and Sheep to help plant and harvest some wheat for the delicious Passover treat? Couldn't they at least help schlep the wheat to the mill? A recipe for matzah, a glossary of Yiddish words, and a note on Passover traditions is included.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
In this variation on a traditional story, the Little Red Hen it turns out is Jewish and not only that she uses Yiddish words. The story follows the familiar pattern with the Little red Hen getting no help with the planting, harvesting, milling or baking of the matzah (this is a Passover story). When she has set the table with the traditional foods for the Seder, there is a knock at the door and who should be there, but those lazy friends who did not help her at all. She mulls over whether to let them enjoy the benefits of her labor and remembering the words in the Passover Haggadah "Let all who are hungry come and eat." She relents and invites them in. They all enjoy the dinner and in a final twist, they end up doing the dishes while the Little Red Hen takes a well earned rest. The drawings are amusing and for those who do or do not celebrate the holiday there is plenty to learn. The message of forgiveness and also the important components of the Passover holiday are explained along with the preparation of matzahs. A recipe is included and bakers are challenged to see if they can complete it all in eighteen minutes which is the amount of time it should take according to Jewish law. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—This Yiddish-inflected retelling of "The Little Ren Hen" features a balabusta (good homemaker) who kvetches about her lazy no-goodnik friends who will not help her make matzah from wheat. When they show up at the Passover Seder, the hen scolds, "What chutzpah!" Ultimately, however, they repent and the hen forgives them because she is a mensch. All ends happily as they make up for their earlier bad behavior by doing the dishes. The droll ink, watercolor, and pastel cartoon illustrations have a friendly charm that makes a nice contrast with the story's wry humor. The Yiddish vocabulary and speech patterns will have Jewish adults rolling in the aisles, and children will enjoy the merging of familiar Passover and folktale elements. It's entertaining to those in the know, but readers unfamiliar with the holiday may be mystified by the humor, and they will gain little understanding of the traditions of Passover. An endnote on the holiday's history, a matzah recipe, and a glossary round out the package, but the book should be used in combination with more traditional tales or with audiences who already observe Passover. It's a must for Judaica collections and a solid choice for large general collections.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Publishers Weekly
Such a clever idea! Make the Little Red Hen into a balabusta (that's Yiddish for a singularly sensational homemaker/matriarch/keeper of the spiritual flame), set the story during the Jewish holiday that turns every home into a sacred space, and watch a familiar tale become exponentially funnier and, yes, more meaningful. By the time Kimmelman (Mind Your Manners, Alice Roosevelt!), a terrifically conversational storyteller, and Meisel (Barnyard Slam), a slyly astute cartoonist (Sheep looks truly sheepish), are done, readers of all faiths will know a lot more than some emotionally evocative Yiddish words. They'll also understand why Passover whips Jewish mothers into a frenzy (“The Little Red Hen had cleaned her house, top to bottom. There wasn't a crumb of bread to be found anywhere”), and why, even after all her schlepping and kvetching and unassisted matzo making, LRH still cannot turn away her “no-goodnik” friends when they have the chutzpah to show up at her seder. Oh, and one more thing: those who clean up after the seder while their hostess puts her feet up can find redemption for even the most egregious shortcomings. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
When this Jewish Little Red Hen decides it is time to get ready for Passover, her first thought is to make the traditional matzah. Gathering a small pile of grain she kept safe from water and wind, she approaches her friends and receives the typical rude, if somewhat altered, responses. " ‘Not I', said Sheep. ‘Sorry, bub,' said Horse. ‘Think again,' said Dog." Little Red Hen resigns herself to going it alone, but she is a classic kvetcher: "I should live so long, to see this bunch of lazy no-goodniks put in an honest day's work." Meisel's accompanying cartoons, done in ink, watercolor and pastels, add exactly the right touch of humor to this holiday version of a classic folktale, which is filled with enough Yiddishisms to make every Bubbe act out the reading in old-world style. In accordance with the Passover tradition to welcome all who are hungry to the seder table, the three non-helpers are invited in-and they redeem themselves with some dishwashing, while the Little Red Hen enjoys a relaxing moment. (author's note, recipe, glossary) (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823419524
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/8/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 800,688
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD530L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 10, 2010

    This is an outstanding story for young children at Passover time.

    I highly recommend this book. The story is based on the traditional story,
    The Little Red Hen. However, it uses the making of the holiday matzah to
    teach children the customs of the Passover seder. The animals in the story
    refuse to help make the matzah and yet at the end, the little red hen invites them to the seder, because this is what is written in the haggadah, the book read at the holiday meal. The illustrations are very attractive and any child would enjoy this amazing book. This is the best Passover story I've ever read to my students. I hope they write more like this one!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2014

    Love this version

    I love this version of the Little Red Hen because she shares with her friends even though they didn't help her. Sometimes it's nice to be nice to people even though/especially if they haven't been nice to you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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