FICTION

Asteroid Goldberg: Passover in Outer Space

Intergalactic Afikoman. Feb. 2020. 40p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781951365004.
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PreS-Gr 1–Sayres tries to break new ground by setting this slight Passover story in space, but the minimal storyline and pedantic text prevent it from rising up to the stars. Asteroid Goldberg and her family are homeward bound for Passover when they are told their rocket has to wait to land. What to do? Have the Seder in space, of course! They open the fridge and hatch to let the chametz fly out into space, pick up matzoh balls from the asteroid field, matzoh from Saturn’s rings, and horseradish from Jupiter’s red spot. Then they have a full Seder. When they are invited to land, they end with “Next year in outer space!” If it all sounds preposterous, it is. The uninspired text is written in four-line stanzas with an ABCB rhyme scheme and scansion that doesn’t always work. The cartoon-style art looks like something you would find on a children’s TV show. The mostly full-bleed spreads are colorful and eye-catching, if rather busy. The mostly white cast does include one dark-skinned, curly-haired cousin. Those who know nothing about Seders will leave mostly unenlightened, although there is a glossary. However, knowledgeable readers will find most of the elements of the evening covered, if not thoroughly explained.
VERDICT Jewish schools and libraries in dire need of more Passover tales for the preschool set that don’t just retell the story may find a place for this. All others can pass.

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