cover image The Story of Passover

The Story of Passover

Norma Simon. HarperCollins Publishers, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-027062-9

The freshly illustrated reissue of Simon's thorough, picture-book explanation of this Jewish holiday (which first appeared in 1968, as did The Story of Easter, reviewed below, as part of the Crowell Holiday Book series) laudably covers much ground. Following a passage about Passover's significance, readers will find a simplified summary of the book of Exodus describing how Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt after God inflicted the 10 plagues on the Egyptians. Children are also introduced, step-by-step, to all the elements of a contemporary Passover Seder. The author expands on her subject by mentioning contemporary critical commentary on slavery, as well as the debate over whether the Bible is considered history or legend. She offers some of the more playful Passover traditions, such as hiding the piece of matzoh known as the afikomen. Weihs's subtle, earth-toned oil paintings evoke the hardships of the Hebrews as well as the joy of the preparation that modern Jewish families feel each spring. Recipes for matzoh balls and charoseth, a mixture of fruit and nuts, as well as directions for making Seder place cards, are included. This volume will prove most useful as a family-shared reference and could serve as an excellent introduction to Passover for non-Jews. Ages 7-10. (Feb.)