Reviews for Matzah Man : A Passover Story


Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 February 2002
Ages 4-6. The story of the gingerbread boy gets a Jewish makeover when the character is transformed into the matzah man. The parameters of the story are familiar: a baker uses an extra pinch of dough to make a figure that comes alive and runs away from all those who would like to munch on him. That includes the baker; a hen; a goat; old cousin Tilly, carrying her brisket in a pan; and Uncle Solly, who's teary from peeling onions for his gefilte fish. This adaptation has warmth and humor and is told with a bit of Jewish vernacular. The matzah man behaves rudely, but kids may still be a bit shocked when he is eventually eaten by a family at a Passover seder. At least the gingerbread boy was eaten by a fox. The book design has a fresh, springlike feeling, with blue gingham borders on the cover, crisp white pages, and lots of grass-green and buttercup-yellow highlights. ((Reviewed February 15, 2002)) Copyright 2002 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2002 Fall
In this version of the Gingerbread Man, a Matzah Man gives the residents and animals of the town a merry chase until he is tricked by a clever boy. The rhythmic language is humorous and moves the story forward, while mixed-media illustrations accentuate the tale's humor. A couple lines of text appear to be missing, breaking the pattern of the story, but practiced readers can easily fill them in. Copyright 2002 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2002 February #2
The gingerbread boy has appeared as a baby, a man, a pancake, and a Russian bun. Now, before Passover, he pops out of the oven as "the Matzah Man." Chased by the baker, a red hen, Cousin Tillie, Auntie Bertha, Grandpapa Solly, Miss Axelrod, and a gray goat, he finds himself at the house of young Mendel Fox. The table is set for the Seder, and Mendel hides Matzah Man under his special cover, where he meets his orderly and observant end as part of the Seder service. In another twist on an old tale-The Magic Porridge Pot-Howland previously wrote and illustrated Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat: A Chanukah Story (1999). Her gouache, cut-paper collage and colored-pencil illustrations are playful and mildly amusing and give the setting a retro feel. The refrain "ka-naidle, ka-noodle, ka-noo- / I'll run away from you, too!" is a clever variant and fun to say aloud. Including a goat in the chase is a whimsical reference to the Seder song Had Gadya. Those in search of a light-hearted Passover story will find this enjoyable. Includes a glossary of holiday terms. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus 2002 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2002 February #3
Howland (Latkes, Latkes, Good Enough to Eat) makes the story of the Gingerbread Man kosher for Passover in a picture book that improves with repeat readings. Set in an indeterminately old-fashioned community where ladies wear white gloves, hats and fox stoles to go shopping, the story opens as the baker has made a little man out of leftover matzoh dough. Here it is Cousin Tillie, sampling her tender brisket; Auntie Bertha, the shopper; Grandpa Solly, chopping onions for gefilte fish; Miss Axelrod, adding the last matzoh ball to a pot of chicken soup; and a variety of animals who chase after the impish Matzah Man. The storytelling seems attenuated the first time around but all those matzoh-chasers play a role in the satisfying surprise finale. Children will want to return to the beginning to see how neatly Howland sets up her premise. Collage elements (these create the Matzah Man) mingle unobtrusively with almost drab gouaches in the illustrations, which, despite their unprepossessing first impression, are crammed with lively details. Ages 4-7. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2002 March
PreS-Gr 2-In this Passover version of the "Gingerbread Man," a baker makes his last bit of matzah dough into a tiny figure that proceeds to run away, chanting "Hot from the oven I jumped and ran,/So clever and quick, I'm the Matzah Man!" He encounters a variety of people and animals who enter into the cumulative chase, and each time he escapes, until young Mendel Fox convinces him to hide under the matzah cover, where he is broken and eaten by his pursuers. The simple story has a pleasant Jewish flavor, and the gouache, collage, and pencil illustrations are well rendered and amusing. The Matzah Man runs right out of the frames on several pages, and he is constantly in motion, keeping the tale flowing. While the author makes no attempt to explain the holiday, people acquainted with it will find plenty of familiar details, both in the text and in the paintings, including brisket, gefilte fish, and a beautifully set Passover table. Ultimately, this enjoyable tale would be a good addition to libraries looking to beef up their collections for their Jewish patrons.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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