A Sweet Meeting on Mimouna Night

Groundwood/House of Anansi. Nov. 2020. 36p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781773063973.
Gr 1-5–When Passover ends, along with dietary restrictions, the Moroccan Jewish holiday of Mimouna begins, but where do observant Jews find flour at that time of night for the traditional and delicious moufleta? Miriam’s mother responds to her daughter’s question with a walk to the Muslim part of town, where they have tea with Jasmine, a girl Miriam’s age, and her mother. After tea, Jasmine’s mother sends them home with a bag of flour and is invited to the celebration. Preparations and the party ensue, quietly conveying the traditions of this holiday. As Jasmine repeatedly saves the day when Miriam keeps tripping, the shy girls shed their fears and become fast friends. The next Mimouna finds Miriam’s family in Jerusalem, where she remembers Jasmine fondly. Ofanansky’s text is dense but flows nicely. It conveys a lot of information while remaining accessible. In a mix of full- and half-page spreads, Teplow’s illustrations depict wonderful facial expressions and add texture and life to the text, while her use of patterns, architecture, and colors effectively evokes Morocco. Despite the North African setting, everyone shown has pale skin, although yarmulkes, fezzes, and other head coverings abound. The back matter provides more loving details and a recipe.
VERDICT The lesson of intercultural cooperation is subtle but compelling. This introduction to an important holiday and sharing will be a welcome addition to many collections.

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