FICTION

The Four Questions

Levine Querido. 2nd ed. ed. Jan. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781646140367.
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K-Gr 3–The table is set with foods not typically eaten on other nights, such as matzah, bitter herbs, and greens to dip in salt water. Why is this night different from all other nights? Because it’s Passover. Typically, the youngest child at the seder will ask the four questions, but rarely are they given straight answers. In this reprint of the same 1989 title, Schwartz gives us those answers by weaving the four questions through the retelling of the Passover story, explaining the symbolism behind the seder plate, and incorporating the worthy message that although we are joyful to be free, there are those humans and animals who are yet to be. The text is complemented by sophisticated paintings of animals with human characteristics. On one page, a group of animals cry and the moon frowns remembering slavery’s bitterness. Later, an elephant reclines in a chair reading a book because he is free. At first glance the animal illustrations may seem like an odd choice, but a detailed explanation follows the story describing the long history of personified animals from ancient Egypt to the 13th century Birds’ Head Haggadah.
VERDICT This would make a lovely companion to the traditional Haggadah and would be well-suited for libraries looking to expand their Jewish holiday collection.

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