04/16/03
Books for Passover
    by John Cech

Brief sound clip

That's Sarah Jessica Parker playing a roving reporter, and a young friend with the right answer to the all-important question that's asked during the Passover Seder, from Shalom Sesame's Passover video. Along with nearly a dozen other videos available for children about Passover, which begins this evening at sundown, a good number of books have also appeared in recent years to help celebrate this central moment of the Jewish experience.

For very young children, there are board books like A Tree Trunk Seder by Camille Kress, which sets this special holiday meal in the home of a family of squirrels. Seder With the Animals, by Howard I. Bogot, from the Central Conference of American Rabbis Press, works through analogies to show concepts pertinent to the holiday in poetic terms, by comparing aspects of the natural world with those of Passover. "Fireflies glowing in the night," the book begins on one page, with striking abstract pictures. " Seder candles we burn bright" the facing page answers, with the lights from the fireflies beautifully merging into the points of flame on the candles. From the sublime to the totally commercial, Let My Babies Go! A Passover Story by Sarah Willson, is a book based on a segment from the popular Rugrats T.V. show. Here the diapered infants get told the story of Passover from Tommy's Grandpa Boris, and they imagine themselves taking different roles in the Exodus. Only the bratty Angelica would see herself as a female Pharoah! And for older kids who might be figgeting at the Seder meal, there is Uncle Eli's Special-for-kids, Most Fun Ever, Under-the-Table Passover Haggadah, by Eliezer Lorne Segal. A Haggadah is a book, and this one is a collection of poems that re-imagines the events of Passover with the spirited word play and fantasy that a Shel Silverstein or Dr. Seuss might have used.

Among the serious books about Passover, and one of the best is Rahel Musleah, Why on this Night, A Passover Haggadah for Family Celebration. It includes all the traditional prayers and songs, in English and Hebrew, as well as the stories and other rich detail (like the recipes for preparing the holiday foods) that make this one of the most sacred nights of the Jewish year.

Copyright 2003 John Cech

Today's program reviewed the following works:

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Tuesday, 25-Mar-2003 19:07:05 EST


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