The Matzah Man: A Passover Story

The Matzah Man: A Passover Story

by Naomi Howland
     
 


In this lively adaptation of “The Gingerbread Boy,” a bold little man made of matzah jumps out of the baker’s oven and leads him and everyone in the neighborhood—all of whom are preparing for Passover—on a merry chase. With colossal chutzpah, the Matzah Man taunts Cousin Tillie as she is cooking brisket, Auntie Bertha trying on her new… See more details below

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Overview


In this lively adaptation of “The Gingerbread Boy,” a bold little man made of matzah jumps out of the baker’s oven and leads him and everyone in the neighborhood—all of whom are preparing for Passover—on a merry chase. With colossal chutzpah, the Matzah Man taunts Cousin Tillie as she is cooking brisket, Auntie Bertha trying on her new spring shoes, and Grandpapa Solly making gefilte fish. He at last arrives on the doorstep of clever Mendel Fox, who offers him a hiding place under the Passover matzah cover—and when the seder meal begins, that’s the end of the Matzah Man! As she did in Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat, Naomi Howland has created a humorous tale, charmingly illustrated, that overflows with holiday festivity. Glossary.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Those in search of a light-hearted Passover story will find this enjoyable.
Kirkus Reviews

The simple story has a pleasant Jewish flavor, and the gouache, collage, and pencil illustrations are well rendered and amusing.
School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
Howland (Latkes, Latkes, Good Enough to Eat) makes the story of the Gingerbread Man kosher for Passover in a picture book that improves with repeat readings. Set in an indeterminately old-fashioned community where ladies wear white gloves, hats and fox stoles to go shopping, the story opens as the baker has made a little man out of leftover matzoh dough. Here it is Cousin Tillie, sampling her tender brisket; Auntie Bertha, the shopper; Grandpa Solly, chopping onions for gefilte fish; Miss Axelrod, adding the last matzoh ball to a pot of chicken soup; and a variety of animals who chase after the impish Matzah Man. The storytelling seems attenuated the first time around but all those matzoh-chasers play a role in the satisfying surprise finale. Children will want to return to the beginning to see how neatly Howland sets up her premise. Collage elements (these create the Matzah Man) mingle unobtrusively with almost drab gouaches in the illustrations, which, despite their unprepossessing first impression, are crammed with lively details. Ages 4-7. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
The Matzah Man is the Jewish version of "The Gingerbread Man." While baking matzah, Mr. Cohen uses leftover dough to make a cookie in the shape of a man. The cookie then jumps out of the oven and runs through town. The illustrations capture an old world scene where women wear aprons and gloves, and men walk around in suits. Animal images a a re also evident through the chickens, goats, cats, and dogs. The women are busy shopping and cooking for Passover while the matzah runs through town yelling a catchy phrase: "Hot from the oven I jumped and ran,/ So clever and quick, I'm the Matzah Man!" Finally Mendel, a little Jewish boy, outsmarts the matzah man, and everyone sits d down to eat the Passover Feast (and the matzah man) together. Howard includes colorful illustrations done in gouache and cut-paper collage with colored pencil. The story will likely appeal both to Jewish children who celebrate Passover and to non-Jewish children who want to learn about Judaism. Howland provides a glossary at the end of the book to define words that she uses in the story that non-Jewish children may not understand. Not only is this a good story about Passover, but it is also a great book for readers who already love "The Gingerbread Man." 2002, Clarion Books, Ages 4 to 8.
—Amanda Eron
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-In this Passover version of the "Gingerbread Man," a baker makes his last bit of matzah dough into a tiny figure that proceeds to run away, chanting "Hot from the oven I jumped and ran,/So clever and quick, I'm the Matzah Man!" He encounters a variety of people and animals who enter into the cumulative chase, and each time he escapes, until young Mendel Fox convinces him to hide under the matzah cover, where he is broken and eaten by his pursuers. The simple story has a pleasant Jewish flavor, and the gouache, collage, and pencil illustrations are well rendered and amusing. The Matzah Man runs right out of the frames on several pages, and he is constantly in motion, keeping the tale flowing. While the author makes no attempt to explain the holiday, people acquainted with it will find plenty of familiar details, both in the text and in the paintings, including brisket, gefilte fish, and a beautifully set Passover table. Ultimately, this enjoyable tale would be a good addition to libraries looking to beef up their collections for their Jewish patrons.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The gingerbread boy has appeared as a baby, a man, a pancake, and a Russian bun. Now, before Passover, he pops out of the oven as "the Matzah Man." Chased by the baker, a red hen, Cousin Tillie, Auntie Bertha, Grandpapa Solly, Miss Axelrod, and a gray goat, he finds himself at the house of young Mendel Fox. The table is set for the Seder, and Mendel hides Matzah Man under his special cover, where he meets his orderly and observant end as part of the Seder service. In another twist on an old tale-The Magic Porridge Pot-Howland previously wrote and illustrated Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat: A Chanukah Story (1999). Her gouache, cut-paper collage and colored-pencil illustrations are playful and mildly amusing and give the setting a retro feel. The refrain "ka-naidle, ka-noodle, ka-noo- / I'll run away from you, too!" is a clever variant and fun to say aloud. Including a goat in the chase is a whimsical reference to the Seder song Had Gadya. Those in search of a light-hearted Passover story will find this enjoyable. Includes a glossary of holiday terms. (Picture book. 3-7)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618117505
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
03/15/2002
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.25(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.13(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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