Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy (slightly belated) Passover and (slightly early) Easter!

Passover began Monday night at sundown, so we'd like to wish those of you who celebrate it a happy holiday! For those of you who are Easter-inclined, happy Easter ahead of time.

Whether you need something to keep kiddos busy at the Seder (when they're not asking the Four Questions or hunting for matzoh), or you're looking for goodies to tuck into Easter baskets, we have a huge holiday display where you can find everything from chirping chicks to wind-up walking matzoh balls.

Passover Partay
As I mentioned, one of our most exciting Passover items this year is the wind-up walking matzoh ball by RiteLite. With his friendly face and blue bowtie, he'll make a fun addition to the kitchen during the process of making matzoh ball soup. Fun trivia about matzoh balls, by the way: according to Wikipedia, "Joey Chestnut holds the world record for eating matzoh balls; he ate 78 matzoh balls in 8 minutes. The largest matzoh ball prepared weighed 267 pounds and was 29.2 inches long. Setting the Guinness record, the ball was made from '1,000 eggs, 80 pounds of margarine, 200 pounds of matzoh meal, and 20 pounds of chicken base.'"

While we're on the subject of matzoh balls, juggling matzoh balls (also by RiteLite) will be a crowd-pleaser while your guests wait for the meal to be ready. These soft bean bags are printed all over with a matzoh pattern and come in a set of three for any juggling trick.

No Passover Seder would be complete without a Haggadah, and we have several to choose from, appropriate for any age diner. Tomie dePaola's My First Passover includes the Four Questions and their answers, introducing the youngest attendees to the traditions of the holiday and helping them to participate in the festivities. My Very Own Haggadah by
Acclaimed Jewish author Elie Wiesel has translated and annotated a Passover Haggadah for the whole family, with a gorgeous text and illustrations.

No holiday celebration is complete without traditional foods, so pick up DK's Jewish Holidays Cookbook: Festive Meals for Celebrating the Year by Jill Colella Bloomfield. The clear, step-by-step instructions and photographs allow young chefs to help in the meal preparation without frustration or mishaps. Pesach-specific recipes include haroset, citrus salmon, matzoh brei, and meringue cookies. Each section also offers history of the holiday and traditions for celebration.

Easter Extravegganza
Newly-appointed children's literature ambassador Katherine Paterson has written a lovely picture book biography of Jesus entitled The Light of the World: The Life of Jesus for Children for ages 4 to 8. The gentle text is accompanied by Francois Roca's luminous illustrations in a blue-and-gold palette. The Light of the World introduces gospel stories to young children in an accessible, age-appropriate format. Begin a new Easter morning tradition: a read-aloud of this beautiful book!

On a (har har) fluffier note, Easter and springy plush abound around the Hut and in the stuffed animal sections. You'll find bunnies, chicks, and lambs of all sizes, shapes, and colors. Some chicks chirp and some bunnies hop! Here's my favorite little guy, "Fielding" by Ty. There's also a plethora of springtime windups that waddle, jump, and swim.

Easter just wouldn't be Easter without bunnies! In addition to the tons of bunny stuffies we carry, there's also a huge selection of bunny-themed books. One of my all-time favorite rabbit stories is Little Bunny Follows His Nose by Katherine Howard, with illustrations by J.P. Miller. As Little Bunny goes about his day, he stops to smell the roses and plenty of other tantalizing scents. With six scratch-and-sniff spots throughout the book, so can you! Little Bunny is a particularly fond memory of my childhood reading (as is The Sweet Smells of Christmas by Patricia Scarry, also illustrated by Miller), so I can highly recommend it.

Olivier Dunrea's hugely popular Gossie and Gertie series celebrates Easter too! In Ollie's Easter Eggs, Gossie, Gertie, BooBoo, and Peedie dye their Easter eggs, but tell Ollie he's too young to dye his own. Luckily, Ollie knows a way around that... With bright, happy illustrations and everybody's most anticipated part of Easter -- the egg hunt -- this is a perfect read for toddlers. I love Ollie's Easter bunny ears!

Rachel did an incredible Easter/Passover round-up last year which is still applicable, so go take a peep -- er, a peek at he suggestions as well.

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