Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah

Kimmelman, Leslie. 2010. THE LITTLE RED HEN AND THE PASSOVER MATZAH. Ill. by Paul Meisel. New York: Holiday House. ISBN 9780823419524 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-2]

The timeless tale of the little red hen comes to life again with this delightful retelling. In Leslie Kimmelman’s story, the little red hen is preparing for the Passover and needs to make matzah (unleavened bread) for her Seder dinner. In true form, the little red hen’s friends are not interested in helping with the work, but ARE interested in helping with eating the meal. The story ends with a twist that is in keeping with the spirit of the Passover. Audiences always appreciate justice being done, and the author incorporates humor in the ending in order to show justice for the little red hen.

Although the author includes information about the Passover, she doesn’t overwhelm the reader but uses it as a natural progression to the story. The book includes a recipe to make matzah, as well as a glossary of terms and Passover foods. This book is a nice blend of fiction, illustrations, and historical information.

Paul Meisel’s illustrations complement the story and draw the reader into the little red hen’s world. The attention to detail makes one want to sit at the table and enjoy the Passover meal with the little red hen and her friends.

This book provides a wonderful opportunity to compare and contrast different versions of the little red hen story. It could also be a part of a social studies unit on other cultures.

Other books for children that incorporate information about other cultures:
Amoss, Berthe. CAJUN GINGERBREAD BOY. ISBN 9780922589661
Axtell, David. WE’RE GOING ON A LION HUNT. ISBN 9780805061598

By Kaye E. Bray

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