Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale With A Tail – Leslea Newman, Susan Gal

 Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale With A Tail – Leslea Newman, Susan Gal, Charlesbridge, 9781580898829, 2020

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

 Genre: Picture book

 What did you like about the book?  The ability for the author to combine the story of a lonely cat looking for a home and the story of Passover traditions was simply brilliant. We meet a boy who is getting ready to celebrate the Seder but outside there is a kitten who is lonely without a loving family. Through a compare and contrast method in each scene we see the stark difference between being in a warm and loving home and the coldness of being outside all on your own. The author uses the symbolism of light to not only highlight the importance of light in the story of Passover but to also bring in the reader’s other senses as well. We learned all the different amazing traditions that happen during the Seder such as lighting the candles, washing of the hands, and eating a festive meal with their loved ones. While describing the scene indoors the author also compares the scene outside with the kiten using similar wording. Eventually it is time to open the door to wait for Elijah the Prophet and when the boy opens the door in walked the kitten! The pictures are gorgeous in this book. The diversity in characters represented is also so important when telling the story of people who celebrate the Passover. Growing up I never thought about the diversity in the race of people that celebrate Passover. In actuality I never even learned in school that there were black people who would celebrate the Seder. I am grateful the author and illustrator paid such careful attention to this detail of representation. The juxtaposition of the light and warm colors used to show the reader the love and happiness that comes from being inside with family while the illustrator uses dark blues and blacks to represent the coldness the kitten is living in. 

Anything you did not like about the book? No, this was a great book that I will be reading every year during the season to my own child. 

 To whom would you recommend this book? This book is great for readers 2 – 7 who are gaining an understanding of different holidays that people locally and globally celebrate. It explains the Seder holiday in such a simplistic way that it would be easy for a young reader to grasp. 

Who should buy this book? Early learning centers, preschools and elementary schools

Where would you shelve it? Picture or Holiday books

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Rose Metayer, Boston Latin School, Boston MA

Date of review: 3/25/2021

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