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Matzah Craze - by Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh (Paperback)

CTNR806215 09781541586697 CTNR806215

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2023-12-02 USD 7.32

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Matzah Craze - by  Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh (Paperback)
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Number of Pages: 32
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Sub-Genre: Religious
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing (R)
Age Range: 4-8 Years
Book theme: Jewish
Author: Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh
Language: English



About the Book



"When Noa refuses to swap anything from her lunch one day, her friends wonder why. It's because it's Passover! But friendly Noa figures out a way to bring her friends into the holiday fun"--



Book Synopsis



When Noa refuses to swap food from her lunch one day, her friends wonder why. She explains it's because it's Passover. For the rest of the week, she brings Passover foods to school to share with her friends to let them enjoy the holiday fun.



Review Quotes




Noa is an ele-men-tary school stu-dent who enjoys trad-ing lunch items as much as any of her class-mates. When Passover arrives, she has a prob-lem. Her friends can-not under-stand why she sud-den-ly rejects their well-inten-tioned offers of tasty foods, and Noa feels awk-ward. ''Thanks, ' says Noa. 'Not today. My lunch was made a spe-cial way.'' That ital-i-cized 'My' does not indi-cate any sense of supe-ri-or-i-ty. Lau-ren Gallegos's pic-ture shows Noa with eyes turned to one side and hands placed in front of her, palms for-ward, as if afraid of com-mit-ting a trans-gres-sion. Some-times being Jew-ish requires a lit-tle explain-ing. Gal-le-gos and author Jamie Kif-fel-Alcheh have cre-at-ed an affir-ma-tive sto-ry about con-cern and inter-est among friends who may have dif-fer-ent cul-tures but share the val-ues of kind-ness and respect.

From the foods that Noa's friends offer to share with her -- chick-en sal-ad and pot roast in addi-tion to gar-lic bread and cheese -- it would seem that she nor-mal-ly inter-prets Jew-ish dietary laws loose-ly. Yet, dur-ing Passover, she refus-es any-thing not pre-pared in her own home. Giv-en that Jews have a wide and some-times idio-syn-crat-ic approach to kashrut, it is plau-si-ble that, in Noa's fam-i-ly, Passover is when they draw the line. Once read-ers accept that premise, Noa's dia-logue with her friends about the hol-i-day which her fam-i-ly cel-e-brates is entire-ly cred-i-ble, and a love-ly exam-ple of mul-ti-cul-tur-al exchange.

Noa her-self is from a bira-cial fam-i-ly and her friends form a diverse group. One girl wears a hijab. The envi-ron-ment of her school implies that her reli-gious prac-tice should not nec-es-sar-i-ly stand out as par-tic-u-lar-ly unusu-al. Nev-er-the-less, she is ten-ta-tive about explain-ing her spe-cial lunch. Gal-le-gos por-trays the cafe-te-ria as a dynam-ic set-ting, with stu-dents reach-ing across to one anoth-er in a kind of assem-bly line of pro-duc-tion, cre-at-ing their meals from one another's dif-fer-ent offer-ings. When Noa opens her lunch-box as if it were a trea-sure chest, every-one leans for-ward eager-ly to see what it con-tains: ''Might be bread, ' says one girl, Pat. 'but with holes -- and real-ly flat.''

Noa then places her matzah in the con-text of his-to-ry. The nar-ra-tive flash-es back to ancient Egypt where the Hebrew slaves are pic-tured with dark skin, draw-ing a par-al-lel to the com-mu-ni-ty where she lives. The bright col-ors of the present switch to shades of brown and yel-low in the desert, until the Israelites escape and green sea waters rise and swirl dra-mat-i-cal-ly around them. When the Exo-dus sto-ry con-cludes, her appre-cia-tive audi-ence leaves. Noa won-ders how she might best com-mu-ni-cate with them about what Passover means today. The answer is matzah. After she serves it to her friends, the exot-ic unleav-ened bread becomes a deli-cious alter-na-tive to the ordi-nary. Soon they are enjoy-ing it in every form, from piz-za to choco-late, in a ver-i-ta-ble 'craze' of sharing.

Gallegos's chil-dren are visu-al-ly endear-ing, their faces express-ing both kind-ness and excite-ment. Her del-i-cate draw-ings of spe-cif-ic foods and uten-sils give a tan-gi-ble feel-ing to a some-what ide-al-ized world. All the chil-dren are sim-i-lar-ly sup-port-ive to Noa, but a bunch of pur-ple grapes neat-ly placed on a white nap-kin, and a matzah sand-wich over-stuffed with sal-ad ingre-di-ents, add an indi-vid-u-al-ized dimen-sion to this para-ble of accep-tance. The com-po-si-tion of the pic-tures also con-veys a mes-sage, as in one word-less page where Noa serves dif-fer-ent foods to dif-fer-ent chil-dren in three sep-a-rate illus-trat-ed seg-ments. Chil-dren will under-stand that the flat crunchy bread with holes may be deli-cious, but the com-mit-ment of friends to accom-mo-date and embrace each other's dif-fer-ences is most important. -- Emily Schneider, Jewish Book Council

-- "Website" (3/18/2021 12:00:00 AM)

Any school-age Jewish kid who observes Passover understands the lunchroom situation in which redheaded, freckled Noa finds herself. She can't make any food trades due to Passover dietary rules, and when she opens her lunch box, her tablemates see a large crackerlike food: 'All week long, I don't eat bread./ Matzah's what I eat instead.' Noa tells her friends the story of Passover, and for the rest of the week, she brings in a different matzah treat to share with her now-enthralled classmates. Kiffel-Alcheh's couplet text gets a little wearing, and it's hard to believe that all of Noa's pals think that plain matzah is the greatest thing since, well, sliced bread ( ''Mmm, ' her friends say as they munch./ 'Matzah has a tasty crunch!' '). But Gallegos's peppy, animation-like illustrations feel true enough to school life, depicting an inclusive student body eager to learn--and to nosh. -- Publishers Weekly

-- "Journal" (2/8/2021 12:00:00 AM)

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