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The Passover Guest

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Author: Susan Kusel

Sydney Taylor Award Winner

A girl's kindness to a mysterious magician leads to a Passover miracle.

Beautifully illustrated and deftly told, this story full of hope, tradition-- and just a touch of magic-- is a new Passover classic in the making.

It's the Spring of 1933 in Washington D.C., and the Great Depression is hitting young Muriel's family hard. Her father has lost his job and her family barely has enough food most days-- let alone for a Passover Seder. They don't even have any wine to leave out for the prophet Elijah's ceremonial cup.

With no feast to rush home to, Muriel wanders by the Lincoln Memorial, where she encounters a mysterious magician in whose hands juggled eggs become lit candles. After she makes a kind gesture, he encourages her to run home for her Seder, and when she does, she encounters a holiday miracle: a bountiful feast of brisket, soup, and matzah, enough for their whole community to share.

But who was this mysterious benefactor? When Muriel sees Elijah's cup is empty, she has a good idea.

Sean Rubin's finely-detailed, historically-accurate illustrations, with a color pallete inspired by Marc Chagall, bring a strong sense of setting to this fresh retelling of the I.L. Peretz story best known through Uri Shulevitz's 1973 adaptation The Magician.

A perfect gift for those celebrating Passover, or to introduce the holiday traditions to young readers, The Passover Guest is sure to enchant readers of all ages.

Brief essays at the end of the story detail author Susan Kusel's inspiration for this retelling, artist Sean Rubin's influences and research, and introduce the traditions associated with Passover celebrations.

An Association of Jewish Libraries Spring Holiday Highlight
A CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
A Booklist Editors' Choice
A CCBC Choice
A CSMCL Best Multicultural Children's Book of the Year

Publisher: Neal Porter Books
Published: 01/19/2021
Pages: 40
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 0.95lbs
Size: 11.10h x 8.70w x 0.40d
ISBN: 9780823445622
Audience: Ages 4-8
Award: Sydney Taylor Book Award - Winner

Review Citation(s):
Booklist 12/01/2020 pg. 56
School Library Journal 12/01/2020 pg. 81
Kirkus Reviews 02/01/2021
Publishers Weekly 02/08/2021
Horn Book Magazine 03/01/2021 pg. 62

About the Author
Susan Kusel is a synagogue librarian and children's book buyer for an independent bookstore. She has served as a member of the Caldecott Medal selection committee and the chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee. The Passover Guest is Kusel's first picture book. She lives in Arlington, VA.

Sean Rubin has illustrated several books for children. He wrote and illustrated the graphic novel Bolivar, which was nominated for an Eisner award and is being adapted into a feature film with Fox Studios. He also illustrated The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon: The Story of Alan Bean by Dean Robbins. Rubin studied art and archeology at Princeton University. He lives in Charleston, VA.

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