Gr 2-5-- This Civil War story about Private J.A. Joel and 20 other Jewish soldiers in the 23rd Ohio Regiment is based on an article written by Joel and published in the Jewish Messenger in 1866. The third-person narration is presented in eight short, easy-to-read chapters. Bored and homesick while guarding a railroad line in West Virginia, the soldiers secure their commander's permission to commemorate Passover. They pay a sutler (traveling merchant) to ship matzah to them and obtain ingredients for the traditional meal. They find an egg for the Seder plate and use carrottops in place of parsley, a brick for charoset , a weed for bitter herbs, and hard cider for wine. Seated around a white-clothed table, they sing the Four Questions, tell the Passover story, and join together in song. Fireside's concluding note discusses her decision "to include some former slaves to share in this celebration." Matzah ball soup is placed on the menu, providing a humorous subplot and a connection to contemporary readers. Costello's vibrant paintings blend realistic and abstract styles, filling the spreads with color. Readers will need some background on the Civil War and Passover to navigate this story, making this book most useful in collections that support Jewish studies.--Laura Scott, Farmington Community Library, MI[Page 101]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.