Book Review: Rebecca's Passover

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Reading Level

Ages 9-12

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Passover
Judaism

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This recently published little book is an excellent introduction to the story of Passover and its origins in the Jewish tradition. Written by Adele Geras, who has written more than 80 books and who won the National Jewish Book Award for Children's Literature for Golden Windows, this book, Rebecca's Passover, focuses on a young girl learning from her elders about the Passover and its sacred traditions.

The story of the Israelites' escape from Egypt, including the Plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, is told here with accompanying illustration and a special focus on the Passover and its unleavened bread.

But it's not just bread talked about here. Also included are a recipe for and discussion of making haroset, a nut-apple-wine paste, and a mention of the other traditional foods, including maror, hazeret, and karpas.

The story is told in first-person, from Rebecca's point of view, so the reader instantly identifies with the young girl. And in an interesting development, the reader discovers that Rebecca has two brothers, both younger, so she herself is an elder to her siblings.

The illustrations, by Sheila Moxley, are descriptive and definitive, showing a Jewish family at its most solemn and also at its most serene. The illustrations are appropriate for young readers without being cartoonish, and they include subtle treats for the discerning viewer (like the inclusion of rolling logs under large stones, a recent addition to the traditional explanation of how the enslaved Israelites moved such heavy objects).

The book is intended for young readers, and the illustrations match this intention; but older readers can learn from the words as well as the concepts. The last part of the book, also, is a general discussion of this period in history, written for adults, to foster post-reading discussion.

All in all, this is a good little book, a good introduction to the Seder experience for young readers and learners.

Buy this book from Amazon.com

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