Is It Passover Yet?

Is It Passover Yet? illus. by Alessandra Psacharopulo. 32p. Albert Whitman. Mar. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807563304.
PreS-Gr 1—A simple story about preparations for Passover. Rhymed couplets hint at the holiday, followed by the repeated phrase "Passover is on its way" and finally "Passover is here!" The story ends when the seder begins, and no explanations of the customs are offered. The digital illustrations are cheerful with soft colors and gentle rounded forms; many elements of Judaica appear throughout, from a tzedakah box on a shelf to a "Shalom" doormat. The family depicted is Jewish but not traditional in dress, with men and boys donning kippot only for the seder. While the overall effect is pleasantly anticipatory and the illustrations are charming, there are several ways in which the story trips up. The art repeatedly fails to match the text: the page describing "a bucket and mop or a long handled broom" shows a broom and a vacuum cleaner, with a mop appearing two pages later. The words "When the sun's getting low and the doorbell stops ringing" are accompanied by images of people approaching the door on a bright day, not yet having rung the bell. This couplet ends with "And everyone's ready for stories and singing" but the family is not ready for these activities, as they are greeting relatives who have not even removed their coats. Worst of all, the book closes with the lines "When the Seder is ready and candles are lit/And Nana's shown everyone just where to sit…/Passover is here!" This text is accompanied by images showing lighted candles at an empty table and a mom bringing in the seder plate. This is incorrect Passover procedure. Those following a hagaddah know that the seder plate should already be on the table and all should be seated before the candles are lighted as the opening act of the seder.
VERDICT Despite the book's charms, the inconsistencies in illustration make it hard to recommend.

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