The Elijah Door

A Passover Tale
The Elijah Door: A Passover Tale. illus. by Alexi Natchev. unpaged. CIP. Holiday House. Apr. 2012. RTE $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8234-1911-1. LC 2008049501.
Gr 2–5—Shtetl neighbors, once good friends, feud over a small matter and refuse to celebrate Passover together as they normally would. The children of the two families, with the help of the rabbi and other villagers, fool their parents into sharing the Seder, and peace is restored. This original story has a folktale flavor and a wry, Yiddishlike tone of voice. Passover is not really the focus of the story, but familiarity with it is assumed. Familiarity with shtetl life is also a plus as it will help readers understand descriptions like "a small village that was sometimes Poland and sometimes Russia." The story will best be appreciated by adults who understand the references and style; young readers will enjoy the humor but will require some adult explanation to truly get it. The block-print artwork, inspired by traditional Eastern European folk art, is chunky and harsh, and its odd beauty suits the story quite well. Due to its humor and appeal for adults, this book would be a good choice for family programs in communities where Passover is celebrated.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
In a small village long ago, the once-close Lippa and Galinsky families feuded. With the rabbi, their children (who loved one another) enacted a plan to bring their families together for Seder so that Passover could truly be celebrated. How the whole village participates makes for a warmhearted story of reconciliation and togetherness. Strikingly painted woodcuts illustrate the Passover tale.

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