cover image Scarlett and Sam: Escape from Egypt

Scarlett and Sam: Escape from Egypt

Eric A. Kimmel, illus. by Ivica Stevanovic. Kar-Ben, $5.95 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-1-4677-3851-4

Magically transported back to Exodus times, twins Scarlett and Sam join forces with a hunky Moses and Aaron (“they were built like basketball players—way taller and more muscular than any of the Egyptians”) and a no-nonsense Miriam (“You can tell who’s boss in this family,” says Scarlett). When all three Bible heroes reveal they can’t swim, it’s the twins who guide the Israelites into the Red Sea. Kimmel (Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins) goes for an ambitious storytelling mashup, assisted by Stevanovic’s sculptural, emotionally vivid spot illustrations. There’s domestic drama (Moses and Pharaoh revert to stepbrotherly taunting), Time Warp Trio–style irreverence (Sam cites the History Channel and Food Channel as sources of his expertise), mild narrative experimentation (the first nine plagues are a podcast transcript), and expressions of a confident faith (“God does what God does,” Moses says when the slaying of the first born includes the twins’ newfound friend, Pharaoh’s son). The story doesn’t always hang together, but it reads at a fast clip and should spark conversation about what the Passover story chooses to reveal. Ages 6–9. Author’s agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agency: Tugeau2. (Feb.)