Reviews for Elijah Door : A Passover Tale


Booklist Reviews 2012 May #1
Set in a village that was sometimes Poland and sometimes Russia, this Passover story begins with the Lippas and the Galinskys, families that were once dear friends but now bitter enemies. It all began over a trade of chickens for two fat geese--but then the geese died and recriminations followed. Rachel Galinsky and David Lippa were to marry someday, and with Passover approaching, they would like to bring their families together. It's a no go, until the rabbi comes up with an idea--well, let's call it a trick--that involves the whole village and makes the feuders understand what love is all about. The story is less about the specifics of Passover than it is about the greatest commandment to love one another, making the title idea of Elijah's door a bit of a squeeze. However, as a step back in time to a nineteenth-century shtetl, this works very well. The narrative has the cadence of a Yiddish folktale, and the block-print art, inked and colored by hand, is superb and just right for the involving story. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
In a small village long ago, the once-close Lippa and Galinsky families feuded. With the rabbi, their children (who loved one another) enacted a plan to bring their families together for Seder so that Passover could truly be celebrated. How the whole village participates makes for a warmhearted story of reconciliation and togetherness. Strikingly painted woodcuts illustrate the Passover tale.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 March #2
A foolish argument creates a feud that can only be resolved through a wisely engineered pretense. The Galinskys and the Lippas trade geese and hens with unequal results. When the geese die and an unreasonable misunderstanding ensues, the family elders cut off their longstanding friendship. But David Lippa and Rachel Galinsky, like Romeo and Juliet, wish to marry. They seek the Rabbi's advice to bring the two families together and involve the rest of the villagers in a ruse to gain invitations from their feuding parents for the yearly Passover Seder. "One by one the neighbors came…. pleading injury, poverty, bad planning, or broken dishes." Preparations for the mammoth ceremonial dinner include a lot of furniture--stretching from each family's house until two long, winding tables almost connect between backyards. Heeding the Rabbi's plea for joyous celebration "in our love for each other," the feud ends, with the Rabbi's own table unifying the two dinners before the Seder begins. But how to welcome Elijah outside? David and Rachel go back inside to open the unused front door for the symbolic gesture. Old-world storytelling depicting a bygone era of Eastern European shtetl life is augmented by folk-art–inspired, roughly detailed woodcuts hand-colored with watercolor inks. The prudent message that all Jews are one family rings out clearly and joyfully. (Picture book/religion. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 February #3

The Galinskys and the Lippas have been neighbors and friends for generations, but a small bartering disagreement has sundered that friendship. Young Rachel Galinsky and David Lippa have always known they would marry, but now that fairy tale ending seems impossible. As Passover approaches and the families refuse to share the holiday meals as they always have, the two children realize that the time has come to enlist the aid of their wise rabbi, who quickly implements a plan to help bring peace to the seder table. Natchev's artwork--created by carving an image into wood and linoleum plates, inking the image with a roller, printing it by hand, then hand-coloring with watercolors--does a magnificent job of bringing this Jewish Romeo and Juliet fable to life. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 April

Gr 2-5--Shtetl neighbors, once good friends, feud over a small matter and refuse to celebrate Passover together as they normally would. The children of the two families, with the help of the rabbi and other villagers, fool their parents into sharing the Seder, and peace is restored. This original story has a folktale flavor and a wry, Yiddishlike tone of voice. Passover is not really the focus of the story, but familiarity with it is assumed. Familiarity with shtetl life is also a plus as it will help readers understand descriptions like "a small village that was sometimes Poland and sometimes Russia." The story will best be appreciated by adults who understand the references and style; young readers will enjoy the humor but will require some adult explanation to truly get it. The block-print artwork, inspired by traditional Eastern European folk art, is chunky and harsh, and its odd beauty suits the story quite well. Due to its humor and appeal for adults, this book would be a good choice for family programs in communities where Passover is celebrated.--Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL

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