cover image Matzah Ball: A Passover Story

Matzah Ball: A Passover Story

Mindy A. Portnoy. Kar-Ben Publishing, $16.5 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-929371-68-9

Sometimes a miracle is just what a guy needs before he can stop feeling sorry for himself, according to Portnoy's heartfelt tale. Heading for a ball game to cheer on his beloved Baltimore Orioles, Aaron is dreading junk food-withdrawal: it's Passover, and he can't chow down on the requisite hotdogs and popcorn. But the grass is greener in the other yard, it seems (or in the other ballpark), as Aaron's friends decide they prefer the kosher-for-Passover lunch fare packed by his mother; soon the boy has no food left. A stranger provides a bit of nourishment, however, along with a surprise ending that puts a literal spin on this book's title. With most of these action-packed spreads set in or around Camden Yards (with an unexpected detour to Ebbets Field), Kahn's soft-focus, warmly colored illustrations will gladden young baseball enthusiasts. But though her scenic renderings pack a punch, facial features are unevenly captured. Still, enhanced by suitably forthright writing and a credible narrative voice, this distinctive effort scores at least a triple. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)