cover image Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail

Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail

Lesléa Newman, illus. by Susan Gal. Charlesbridge, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58089-882-9

Every year at the Passover seder, Jews take a moment to open their front doors and symbolically welcome in the prophet Elijah, a bringer of hope and redemption. In this story, the boy charged with opening the door finds not a prophet but a stray white kitten on the doorstep. “Elijah?” asks the boy. “Meow!” replies the adorable feline, who is immediately welcomed into the family. Newman structures the lead-up to this adoption as a series of contrasts and perspective shifts between “Inside”—the warm, happy home where an inclusive, multigenerational group is celebrating—and “Outside,” where the kitten wanders and waits before finding its new home. “Inside, the boy waited/ for the Seder to start./ Outside, the kitten waited/ for the moon to rise”; “Inside, the boy broke/ the middle matzo in half./ Outside, the kitten split/ a twig in two.” Gal’s lushly textured ink and charcoal drawings and close-ups of happy, candlelit faces convey the warmth of holiday togetherness and communal care. Ages 5–8. [em](Jan.) [/em]