Reviews for Tale of Two Seders

Booklist Reviews 2010 May #1
A young girl with divorced parents describes how she celebrates Passover in two separate households. She notes differences in foods, activities, and participants: Dad's matzo balls are sticky, and his celebrations eventually include his new fiancée; Mom can cook, but her seders are too long. Although she wishes her parents would reconcile, she accepts her new reality, making the culminating celebration (held at the temple with her entire family in attendance) very satisfying for this child. Portnoy, a rabbi and the author of Where Do People Go When They Die? (2004), writes with empathy and humor of this common situation. In comparing families and charoset (a traditional Passover food made with apples, nuts, and wine), Mom makes the point that each one is different but tasty in its own way. Cis' brightly colored artwork is filled with holiday details, particularly the items required for a seder. The text is appended with recipes for four different types of charoset and a glossary of terms. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
A young girl has gone to six different Passover seders in the three years since her parents' divorce. At the sixth seder, attended by both her mom and dad, the girl's mother likens families to different varieties of charoset, a traditional dish: "Some have more ingredients...But each one is tasty in its own way." The realistic story is accompanied by pattern-filled illustrations. Charoset recipes are included. Glos. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

School Library Journal Reviews 2010 April

PreS-Gr 3--"The year after my mom and dad stopped being married to each other, I went to two seders in two places--one at Dad's apartment, and one at Mom's house," explains a young girl. She describes the six Passover meals that she has shared with her divorced parents over the last three years. Each celebration is unique, with memorable moments such as singing the Four Questions, using a new Haggadah, trying different recipes, meeting Dad's new girlfriend, and enjoying treats like chocolate lollipops and fried matzah. However, the charoset, the traditional dish of apples, nuts, cinnamon, and wine, never tastes quite right, and the girl dreams of her whole family celebrating the holiday together again. When her parents surprise her by joining together at the synagogue's community seder, the girl realizes that her dream has come true. And, as her mother explains to her: "families are like charoset. Some have more ingredients than others, some stick together better…some are sweeter…. But each one is tasty in its own way." Cis's delightful acrylic paintings beautifully complement the text, and four recipes for charoset are appended along with a glossary. After being one of the first to introduce young readers to women rabbis in Ima on the Bimah (1986) and to tackle conversion in Mommy Never Went to Hebrew School (1989, both Lerner), it is no surprise that Rabbi Portnoy has written this realistic, contemporary story.--Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL

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