Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter/Passover Roundup!

Easter and Passover are upon us, and the store is full of great things for spring holidays. Here at the store we've got everything from haggadahs and child-sized Seder plates to Easter chicks, craft kits and music. As a celebrant of both holidays, I've rounded up my favorite spring titles for you to read while you're munching your matzo or your Easter candy!

Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco

When Babushka takes in a wounded goose and names her Rechenka, the bird lays eggs for the old woman every morning. Babushka's handpainted eggs always win first prize at the Easter festival, but when Rechenka's wings heal and she begins to fly around, she knocks down the jars of paint and carefully decorated eggs the day before Easter. Babushka is devastated--it's too late to paint more--but when she wakes in the morning, a colorful and miraculous surprise is waiting for her. This beautifully illustrated picture book will certainly bring the joyous spirit of Easter to your celebrations this year.

Dinosaur on Passover by Diane Levin Rauchwerger, illustrated by Jason Wolff

This clever rhyming story about a dinosaur who comes to a family's Seder will definitely make you giggle! He tries to be helpful, but the dinosaur's size and clumsiness wreak havoc on this Passover celebration. The bright illustrations and seamlessly incorporated Passover vocabulary is a surefire hit to shake up your holiday.

Junie B., First Grader: Dumb Bunny by Barbara Park, illustrated by Denise Brunkus

If Junie B. can win the Easter egg hunt at Lucille's gigantic mansion, she'll get a playdate to swim in Lucille's heated swimming pool! There's just one problem--Junie is stuck wearing a big dumb bunny suit with big floppy bunny feet. She's got no chance of collecting enough eggs to win when she can barely walk without falling down, but if she can just find the Golden Egg, that might just be enough.... This great installment in the Junie B. series even includes stickers for egg decorating!

Dear Elijah by Miriam Bat-Ami

Passover is approaching, but Rebecca's father is hospitalized and can't be with them. She doesn't want to talk to her friends about her distress, so she begins writing letters to the prophet Elijah instead. These letters reveal Rebecca's struggles with faith, family, and her own changing inner self in a short but appealing middle grade title.

I Am A Bunny by Richard Scarry

Celebrate the Easter season with this classic Golden Book bunny tale. Even the smallest of readers will enjoy this rabbit's gentle adventure through the seasons, illustrated by the beloved Richard Scarry, and the sturdy board book format will stand up to little hands!

Matzo Ball Moon by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Elaine Greenstein

Eleanor's Bubbe makes the best matzo ball soup--so good that, even though Eleanor and Bubbe have made plenty of them, the matzo balls keep disappearing as members of the family sneak into the kitchen to taste them. When it's time to eat dinner, there aren't enough matzo balls left for everyone, until Eleanor finds one in a very surprising place! This warm, sweet picture book is a great read-aloud for Passover gatherings.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

This beloved children's book is especially relevant during the Easter season, capturing the religious spirit behind the holiday without beating you over the head. Revisit (or discover for the first time) the beginning of Lewis' Narnia series, full of magic, danger, love and courage--and the inevitable return of spring.

Let's Nosh by Amy Wilson Sanger

Let's face it--Passover is really all about the excellent food! This bright, sturdy board book is the perfect introduction to traditional Jewish foods for even the youngest of readers. The rhyming text and collage illustrations will whet your appetite for matzo, challah, and even gefilte fish!

This Little Bunny Can Bake by Janet Stein

In Chef George's School of Dessertology, only one studious little bunny seems to be interested in following the rules--so while bunny makes a masterpiece, the other animals just make a mess. This retro-looking new picturebook even has great easy recipes on the endpapers, so you and your little bunnies can bake, too!

Penina Levine is a Hard-Boiled Egg by Rebecca O'Connell, illustrated by Majella Lue Sue

When her teacher assigns the class to write letters from the Easter Bunny to a group of kindergarteners, Penina doesn't know what to do--her family doesn't celebrate Easter, but Ms. Anderson insists that she can write the letter anyway. With an impending zero on her assignment, a little sister who drives her crazy and parents who never seem to listen, Penina finally turns to her grandmother for advice. This is a great Passover pick for the middle-grade crowd!

A Tale for Easter by Tasha Tudor

This sweet book, just the right size for little hands, portrays the happy dreams of a child the night before Easter. Imagining rabbits, lambs, ducklings and other springtime surprises, this is one idyllic dream that remains timeless.

The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

Hannah's getting tired of the way her family always talks about the past at Jewish holidays. This year, though, the Passover Seder will open a door for Hannah, transporting her to a small village in Poland at the start of World War II. Trapped by the German occupation and sent to a concentration camp, Hannah begins to learn about her family's history, the deeper meaning of Passover, and the young girl who changed her Aunt Eva's life forever. Winner of the National Jewish Book Award, this title offers a unique perspective on the Passover season.

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