The Passover Mouse

Doubleday. Jan. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781984895516.
PreS-Gr 2–This clever story, inspired by a discussion in the Talmud, celebrates community and friendship. Lonely Rivka is busily cleaning her house of bread and preparing for Passover, when a mouse appears and grabs a piece of bread from the pile. Now there might be bread missed in her house! The mouse runs into another house, and soon there are two mice and a cat unaccounted for, and a lot of unhappy people who might need to re-clean their houses. After consulting with the rabbi, they prepare to re-clean, but it is so much work. The rabbi’s son convinces the villagers to pitch in. Ultimately, instead of being alone, Rivka makes her Passover meal for a houseful of helpful guests, and everyone is happy. The clear text has a folkloric feel, seamlessly including facts about the holiday and a repetitive refrain that encourages participation. The message of kindness and generous giving, as the characters move from anger to friendship, is both ancient and relevant today. The art has a rustic, old-fashioned look, despite the cartoon characters. The town is full of small, wood buildings, and the largely brown-and-green coloring is slightly splotchy, as if done with wood block or paint on wood. The women are clothed in dresses and kerchiefs, and the mice and cat are mischievously appealing. The whole comes together beautifully, celebrating the Passover spirit in an appealing package.
VERDICT A welcome addition to any library serving Jewish patrons.

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