cover image The Magician's Visit: A Passover Tale

The Magician's Visit: A Passover Tale

Barbara Diamond Goldin, I. L. Peretz. Viking Children's Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-84840-9

An Elijah tale like Goldin's Just Enough Is Plenty , this version concerns a couple so poor they cannot buy food for a seder, though Hayim-Jonah believes God will provide and reminds his wife of the real reason for rejoicing (``We celebrate our freedom today. No tears''). When a wandering magician summons flaming candlesticks, armchairs and bitter herbs from the air, the awed recipients fear the seder is a deception until they apply the rabbi's test. Parker's spare etchings, drenched in ochres, grays, umber and mauve, evoke the humble surroundings and fortitude of these characters--and the magician's startling transformation--while light, shadow and penetrating eyes intensify the intimacy of a couple dependent on each other and on their faith. Goldin's cogent retelling offers issues and thoughtful responses for adults to explore further with children. An end note explains Passover, Elijah tales and this story's source. Ages 3-8. (Feb.)