arts & entertainment
Max, Hannah And Frolicking Frogs
Kids' books for Passover bring new friends.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
rolicking frogs and magical mat-
zah balls are featured in this sea-
son's crop of new Passover books
for children that are sure to engage, inform,
entertain and inspire.
David A. Adler, author of the hugely
popular early reader Cam Jansen series,
offers The Story of Passover. Adler is highly
acclaimed for his straightforward narrative
style in nonfiction books, including doz-
ens on Jewish holidays.
He says he likes to appeal to readers
of any Jewish background, whether from
traditional, observant Jewish families or
those who are newly interested in learning
"I like my books to be open and accept-
able to all:' Adler tells JTA.
With his author's note on the seder,
Adler offers little-known answers to
intriguing questions that spark the curios-
ity of a broad audience.
Other titles this year include Frogs in the
Bed, offering an engaging book version of
a lively Passover song, and Stone Soup with
Matzoh Balls, which provides a delightful
spin on a familiar folk tale.
Passover, which this year begins on the
evening of April 14, provides an endless
source of inspiration for writers of chil-
dren's books. Contemporary stories depict
families celebrating Passover, and activity
books and children's Haggadot promise to
engage kids with puzzles, songs and jokes
through the long night of the Passover
The winner of the 2014 Sydney Taylor
Book Award for young readers given by the
Association of Jewish Libraries is a Passover
story: The Longest Night, written by Laurel
Snyder and illustrated by Catia Chien.
The beautifully illustrated book is told
in poetic rhyme from the perspective of a
young girl as if she were an Israelite slave
living through the Exodus from Egypt.
The following is the new crop of chil-
dren's books for Passover:
David A. Adler,
($15.95); ages 4-8
The story that
is retold at the
Passover seder begins 3,000 years ago in the
biblical days of Jacob as he settles in Egypt.
Readers learn how the Israelites become
slaves and follow Moses as he is raised by
Pharaoh's daughter in the palace and later
as he leads the Israelites out of Egypt.
Weber's detailed illustrations evoke the
color palette and landscape of ancient
Egypt. She gently conveys the suffering of
the Egyptians through the plagues and the
triumph of the Israelites in a fantasy-like
drawing as they cross the Red Sea into
Frogs in the Bed:
My Passover Seder
Ann D. Koffsky, based on the song
by Shirley Cohen Steinberg
Behrman House ($7.95); ages 4 7
Young kids will have fun with the frol-
icking frogs in a book that also includes a
comic-book story and activities for before
or during the seder. Koffsky's colorful,
cartoon-like illustrations animate the song.
Cute frogs turn up everywhere Pharaoh
goes. They also pop up out of chandeliers
and juggle fruit.
The book includes the Four Questions,
as well as mazes and other seder-related
distractions. An easy set of instructions
with shapes to trace lets kids make their
own jumping froggy. The sheet music is
Stone Soup with Matzoh Balls:
A Passover Tale in Chelm
is not happy about being the littlest (and
youngest) one in her family, with two older
siblings who do all the things she isn't
allowed to do yet. Her grandfather, who
lives with the family, keeps reassuring her,
"Your holiday is coming, my littlest Levine':
As Passover nears, he makes her feel spe-
cial, teaching her the Four Questions. When
it's time for the seder, Hannah is ready to
enjoy the spotlight.
This charming intergenerational story
will strike a chord for many kids and may
help those who are a tad reluctant to recite
the Four Questions. Keay's brightly colored
illustrations are active, warm and upbeat.
Linda Glaser, illustrated by Maryam
Albert Whitman ($16.99); ages 4 7
In Jewish folk tradition, Chelm is
known as a make-believe town filled with
naive fools who, despite themselves, man-
age to impart wisdom with a huge dose
of humor. In this delightful story, Linda
Glaser gives a Chelm spin to a tale told in
many cultures around the world.
On the eve of Passover, a poor ragged
stranger arrives in the village and asks
if anyone will invite him in to share the
holiday. He quotes from the Haggadah,
"All who are hungry come and eat."
He sparks their interest by telling them
he can make a pot of matzah ball soup
from only a stone. With clever prodding,
he gets the villagers to create a huge pot
of delicious soup, with light and fluffy
Maryam Tabatabaei's expressive
illustrations are a perfect match for the
humorous story, evoking the Old World
village with a playful tone.
($17.99); ages 3 7
Max is ready
for Passover. The
endearing young boy knows the Four
Questions and can tell his baby sister why
Passover is different from all other nights.
He's also eager to bake his artist mom a
Passover birthday cake. But with the baby
in the house, his dad gets a bit distracted.
Losing patience and with little time to
spare, the ingenious young fellow takes
matters into his own hands. He creates
a memorable cake all by himself. The
recipe for a "Hurry, Hurry, Hurry Cake" is
Santoso's bright, lively illustrations place
readers right in the action.
Seder in the Desert
Jamie Korngold, photos by Jeff
Kar Ben ($7.95); ages 3 8
This colorful photo essay, narrated by a
young person, offers up something new
and unexpected for the holiday. "Why is
this seder different from all others?" the
book asks on its opening page. "Because
this year we are celebrating Passover in
Readers of all ages will be fascinated
as they follow Rabbi Jamie and a large
group of people on a hike through the
sands and magnificent stone arches that
fill Israel's Moab desert landscape. The
adventure invites readers to imagine
what it might have been like for ancient
Israelites to wander the desert in the
Special to the Jewish News
At The Movies
Opening Friday, April 11:
Cuban Fury is a British "dance/
In 1987, Bruce Garrett is 13 years old
and poised to win the U.K. Junior Salsa
Championship. But a bullying incident
robs him of his confidence and the win.
Fast forward to the present: Garrett
(Nick Frost) is an out-of-shape guy who
lives a hum-drum existence until the
arrival of his new boss, a gorgeous and
smart American named Julia (Rashida
April 10 • 2014
Garrett to shake up
his life, get into shape
and try dancing again.
But he is competing
for Julia's affections
with the office lothario
Meanwhile, in Draft
Day, Kevin Costner
plays Sam Weaver, the coach of the
Cleveland Browns, and we follow him
over the course of 24 hours as he
competes for the No.1 draft pick and,
maybe, a chance to turn his losing
The cast includes Frank Langella as
the Browns' owner, Jennifer Garner
as Weaver's adviser and love inter-
est, and Rosanna Arquette, 54, as
Weaver's ex-wife. The film is directed
by Ivan Reitman, 67.
Oscar-winning documentary maker
Errol Morris (The Fog of War), 66,
is back with The Unknown Known, a
portrait of Donald
Rumsfeld, George W.
Bush's defense sec-
retary and a principal
architect of the Iraq
Most of the film
shows us how
works as the former secretary him-
self reads memos and other docu-
ments he wrote more than 50 years
ago and comments on the contradic-
tions within them.
A much lighter note, of course,
is struck in the animated children's
musical film Rio 2. The original 2011
hit film featured two very rare blue
macaw parrots (Blu Gunderson,
voiced by Jesse Eisenberg, 30, and
Jewel, voiced by Anne Hathaway),
who eventually meet and "marry."
The sequel finds the pair now the
parents of three young birds and about
to leave their home in Rio de Janeiro
for an Amazon jungle expedition.