Home > Book Reviews, Mock Caldecott 2011 > The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah written by Leslie Kimmelman and Illustrated by Paul Meisel

The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah written by Leslie Kimmelman and Illustrated by Paul Meisel

Publication Date: March 1, 2010

Reviewed For: PreSchool-Grade 3

Journal Review / Summary
This Yiddish-inflected retelling of “The Little Ren Hen” features a balabusta (good homemaker) who kvetches about her lazy no-goodnik friends who will not help her make matzah from wheat. When they show up at the Passover Seder, the hen scolds, “What chutzpah!” Ultimately, however, they repent and the hen forgives them because she is a mensch. All ends happily as they make up for their earlier bad behavior by doing the dishes. The droll ink, watercolor, and pastel cartoon illustrations have a friendly charm that makes a nice contrast with the story’s wry humor. The Yiddish vocabulary and speech patterns will have Jewish adults rolling in the aisles, and children will enjoy the merging of familiar Passover and folktale elements. It’s entertaining to those in the know, but readers unfamiliar with the holiday may be mystified by the humor, and they will gain little understanding of the traditions of Passover. An endnote on the holiday’s history, a matzah recipe, and a glossary round out the package, but the book should be used in combination with more traditional tales or with audiences who already observe Passover. It’s a must for Judaica collections and a solid choice for large general collections. – SLJ

Illustration Medium: ink, watercolor, and pastel.

Execution in the artistic technique employed:
I wasn’t overly impressed.

Appropriateness of style of illustration to story, theme, and concept:
Don’t see any special connection here.

Delineation/interpretation of a plot through illustration:
Illustration depends on plot.

Delineation/interpretation of a theme or concept through illustration:

Delineation of characters through illustration:
I didn’t like any of the characters.

Delineation of setting through illustration:
Mediocre farm.

Delineation of mood through illustration:
I thought it was kind of rude.

Delineation of information through illustration:

Concluding Caldecott Thoughts:

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