One of the things I like to do on my blog is review books that amaze & amuse me.
Such a book is The Passover Mouse writer by Joy Nelkin Wieder, Illustrated by Shahar Kober. From Doubleday Books for Young Readers.
This is a most delightful Passover tale that concentrates on a part of the Passover holiday, not much discussed in children’s books.
During the Passover holiday, Jewish people are required to clean up their homes and make sure that no traces of Chometz (leavened food such as bread) are left around.
Sounds like a boring and tiring task but the author skillfully concocts a story that is funny, heart warming and delivers a message of friendship and collaboration.
Rivka, a widow, works hard to clean up her house in preparation for Passover.
She piles up all the bread she could find on her kitchen’s table and plans to burn the chometz.
Alas, just then, a white mouse creeps in and grabs a piece of bread.
Poor Rivka runs out screaming, “A mouse! A mouse! Took bread out of my house!”
How could the villagers make sure that the mouse didn’t bring the bread into their house?
The situation becomes even more complicated when a black mouse runs out of the cobbler’s house with a piece of bread in its mouth.
And the confusion peeks when guess what? a cat leaps out from the matchmaker’s house with a piece of bread in its mouth.
As often in Jewish tales, the villagers rush to the learned rabbi to find out what to do.
The wise man concludes that the houses in question must be searched for chometz once again.
Oy vey! this means more work, just as the passover Seder is about to begin.
But the villagers soon realize that when helping one another, even such a task could not only be achieved but also end up with the best Seder ever.
The story’s message that “It takes a village” is as actual today as in the times of the Talmud (the collection of ancient rabbi’s commentaries on Jewish law.)
the playful use of the words Mouse, Mouth and House make this book an absolutely marvelous fun read-aloud.
The illustrations are charming and warm.
The Author’s note explains the debate in the Talmud regarding a possible situation when a mouse brings chometz into a clean house, noting that this debate remains undecided
The glossary at the end enables the readers understand and pronounce the Jewish terminology.