By: Lisa Bullard
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Publication Date: January 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: April 2012
Sarah was excited because Passover was coming up. She was helping pick up her toys as her mom was cheerfully dusting a mirror. While they worked she learned about why the Jewish people, who were once called Israelites, celebrated the holiday. Long ago in ancient Egypt they had been slaves. They struggled to do things like move stones for their slave drivers. Her mom told her that during Passover it was a time to remember that the Jews had once been slaves and it was a time to "celebrate our freedom." Moses had gone as a messenger of God to the Egyptian king to ask that he set the Israelites free, but he refused. As a result, "God sent many troubles to Egypt" until he relented and set them free.
The house had to be cleaned from top to bottom and then Sarah had "to clean out the regular bread and cookies." After that she'd even "brush a feather across the shelves" so she wouldn't "miss even one crumb." She learned all about the reason that the Israelites had to eat matzah, a bread that they ate during Passover. There were a lot of things for Sarah to do to prepare for Passover. She shopped at the store for "special Passover foods," helped her mom prepare the seder plate, and was ready for her part in the Haggadah. Grandfather broke "the middle matzah" and carefully hid it somewhere in the house. Would Sarah be the one to find the afikomen this year before this big kids?
Throughout the book young Sarah is learning about her Jewish heritage by listening to and helping family members prepare for the holiday. As she helps prepare, she learns about Jewish history. Throughout this book are numerous informative sidebars that can be referred to or directly read to pass on historical information. For example, one of them discusses what is put on the seder plate and its significance. For example, "The bitter foods help people remember how hard it is to be a slave." In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, an activity (Make a Passover Pillowcase), and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.
Quill says: This is a wonderful story about how young Sarah prepares for one of her favorite holidays, Passover.