Stone Soup with Matzoh Balls: A Passover Tale in Chelm

illus. by Maryam Tabatabaei. 32p. Albert Whitman. Mar. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807576205.
PreS-Gr 2—The familiar story of stone soup gets a Passover twist (and a little Chelm magic) in this charming retelling. A stranger appears in Chelm just before sundown on the first night of Passover. The villagers are unwilling to invite him to the seder because they have barely enough for themselves. From here, the traditional folktale unfolds, with the stranger producing a stone in a pot of water and the townspeople supplying the ingredients that transform it into a hearty soup. This soup, in fact, features the lightest, fluffiest matzoh balls in the world. When the time comes to begin the seder, the stranger is welcomed into the synagogue, and all of the inhabitants of the village fill their bellies with his "magical" soup. The Passover message of "let all who are hungry come and eat" is well illustrated in this tale. The text lends itself to reading aloud, and the muted palette of the illustrations extend the story well. A good selection for folktale and holiday collections.—Martha Link Yesowitch, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, NC
A stranger arrives in Chelm on Passover. Let "all who are hungry come and eat," sure, but the villagers don't have much to share. The stranger produces a stone, promising to make matzoh ball soup...and you know the rest. Glaser's well-cadenced text and Tabatabaei's digital-looking art are as light as the Chelmites' matzo balls (" light they can almost fly").

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