PreS-Gr 2-This story of an extended family's celebration of Passover is clever, but flawed. As aunts, uncles, and cousins arrive at Molly's house, inviting scenes show three generations preparing for and celebrating the Seder. The magic enters with Uncle Harry, a dentist-cum-magician who amuses the children with his tricks, including the traditional hiding of the afikomen. He implores them to think carefully about the importance of the holiday before he reveals the whereabouts of the matzoh and the prizes for its return. The book ends with a one-page explanation of the holiday's history and customs. Nowhere does the author mention that bread and baked goods are removed from the house during Passover and replaced with food made with matzoh flour. Also, her note that lettuce can replace horseradish on the Seder plate is incorrect-it can replace parsley. Hafner's attractive, brightly colored, cartoonlike illustrations exude the warmth of a loving family cooking, eating, dancing, and relaxing together, but are inconsistent: in one picture, it's dark outside, while in the next it is broad daylight. For children unfamiliar with this important holiday, this title provides an incomplete and confusing introduction. Marilyn Hirsh's I Love Passover (Holiday, 1985; o.p.) and A Family Passover (Jewish Publication Society, 1980) are better choices.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
The author-illustrator team that produced "Hanukkah!" (1990) is back with another very charming book about a joyous Jewish celebration. The focus is on family, and the book shows just how diverse a family can be--from Aunt Ina, who worries, and Uncle Arnold, who can never seem to stay awake, to wonderful Uncle Harry, who delights the children with his magic tricks. Hafner's brightly colored, busy watercolors show the family, "crowded and close," preparing for the traditional seder, then sitting down to enjoy the special holiday meal in the company of people they truly love. A warm, charming family portrait, with an explanation of the holiday (and the four questions traditionally asked during the service appear in English) at the back of the book.