Gr 3 Up-Fluek re-creates how her family celebrated Passover in Czernica, Poland, before most of the Jews of that town perished at the hands of the Nazis. Her simple, direct words trace the preparations for the holiday as far back as the previous fall, when her father supervised the harvesting and storage of the wheat. During the winter, the mill was scoured to make it kosher; the geese-fattening process began; and new clothes were sewn or hand-me-downs altered. In spring, the girl and her mother visited the shoemaker; collected and stored eggs; made wine from raisins, etc. While her father cleaned the farm, she and the rest of her family scrubbed the house and linens. What stands out in this memoir is the closeness of the community and its insular life-a world within a world that has disappeared forever. The text is straightforward, and the illustrations, too, are simple and spare. Rich, deep watercolors create images long stored in Fluek's memory. A jewel of a book to be appreciated even more on successive readings.-Marcia Posner, Federation of New York and the Jewish Book Council, New York City
This nostalgic portrait takes readers back 60 years to see how one family living in a tiny Polish village celebrated the Jewish holiday of Passover. With her daughter as coauthor, Fluek evokes memories that have remained with her since childhood--her father in his long black holiday coat, her mother making ceremonial wine from raisins, the kashering (cleaning) of silverware for Passover use. Unfortunately, the book design is static. A painting heads each page; below it is a title revealing the subject of the text that appears beneath. The artwork itself, however, is sturdy and unpretentious, perfectly reflecting the simple way of life described, and the heartfelt text reveals some truly fascinating traditions. Perhaps more meaningful for its intriguing view of a life gone by than as an introduction to the springtime Passover festival, this is, nonetheless, a book that leaves an indelible image.