cover image Matzo Ball Moon

Matzo Ball Moon

Leslea Newman. Clarion Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-71530-7

For Eleanor and her family, the highlight of Passover is having Bubbe come and make her fabulous matzo ball soup. This year the recipe turns out so well that no one can enter the kitchen without sneaking a matzo ball from the pan--and there are so many trips to the kitchen that Bubbe falls short one matzo ball when it's time for the seder. ""Eat up, all of you,"" she says, serving matzo balls to everyone else. ""As long as my family enjoys, I enjoy."" Newman (Too Far Away to Touch) captures the easy affection and love of happy families, and if Bubbe says the expected, she is also credible and has some chutzpah. The cheerfully naive style of Greenstein's (While the Candles Burn: Eight Stories for Hanukkah) painted monoprints intensifies the mood of sunny domesticity. Colors are both vivid and slightly warmed, giving the palette a comfortably well-worn look, and compositions gracefully incorporate casually festive patterns. While the art is consistently inviting, the text gets a little too sweet at the end. Eleanor, gazing at a full moon, sees it as a ""big, bumpy, lumpy, yummy-looking matzo ball,"" and offers the metaphor up to a delighted Bubbe. The moral: when the moon in the sky is a big matzo ball, that's amore. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)