The Story of Passover / by Rabbi Francis Barry Silberg; illustrated by Stephanie McFetridge Britt. 12.4.2017

Worthy Publishing ISBN 9780824916527

PRI Grades 2-5 Rating: 3

Writing for adults about important topics–like faith–can be challenging, and introducing children to important events and intangible ideas requires a wholly different set of skills. In The Story of Passover, Rabbi Francis Barry Silberg uses the simplicity of a board book to make a detailed and complex story comprehensible to both children and adults of all ages and beliefs.

Rabbi Silberg re-tells the story of the Exodus: a significant period in history where God demonstrates wonders and plagues in Egypt in order to force Pharaoh to release the Jewish people from slavery. With easy-to-understand vocabulary and short sentences, he holds the reader’s attention in light suspense that keeps them asking, “What happens next?” Illustrations by Stephanie McFetridge Britt provide realistic artwork, though the soft pastels and light blues that predominate prevent the segment on the ten plagues from being frightening.

The Story of Passover assumes some prior knowledge of the biblical event, while vocabulary specific to the story (such as unleavened bread, worship, and children of Israel) may require adult explanation. While the story does not contain the usual sound patterns and rhymes common to many board books, it engages the child at a higher thinking level where each sentence leads naturally into the “why?” questions that help children to create meaning and that enhance deeper understanding.

Rabbi Silberg’s main skill lies in his ability to touch the inherent curiosity and imagination of a child in order to guide them into the realm of the unseen and of faith.

Veronica Jorge, CLJ