Ann Koffsky has created a magical under-the-sea environment sure to entertain children as Passover approaches. Like many kids, young Miri is bored and restless during her family’s seder; adult voices drone on, grape juice is noisily slurped, and the crunching matzah is messy. But the world under the tablecloth allows Miri’s active imagination to thrive. Accompanied by her pet cat, she explores an oceanic wonderland. They meet fanciful, brightly colored sea creatures with whom they share a seder filled with enthusiastic song and dance. Miri then returns to the world of her family seder in time to sing the traditional Passover songs, and everyone starts to dance, having great fun together.
An author’s note reminds families that the seder need not be a long, dreary affair. Acting, moving, singing, and playing can be easily incorporated to enliven the experience and include children who simply cannot sit still. (Koffsky notes that the rabbis who designed the earliest seders were concerned about maintaining the interest of all the participants.) She encourages families to think about creative activities they can add to encourage participation and maximize learning. The art accompanying the text, with its rich, deep colors and humorous touches, is as vibrant and imaginative as Miri.
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.