Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Yankee at the Seder

The Yankee at the Seder

Elka Weber
Illustrator:  Adam Gustavson 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 8
Tricycle Press, 2009   ISBN: 978-1582462561

It is the day before Passover and the American Civil War is finally over. Living in Virginia ten-year-old Jacob feels that he is on the losing side, and he wishes that he could show the Yankees a thing a two about how tough true Confederates are. It is all over through, and no one is sure what will happen next.

Jacob is sitting on the porch eating a piece of matzoh when a Yankee soldier, a Jewish Yankee soldier, arrives at the doorstep. Being a hospitable and kind woman, Jacob's mother invites the soldier to celebrate the Seder with their family that evening.

During the course of the evening, Jacob comes to appreciate what the Seder and Passover represents to his people. He discovers that such holy times remind us to set our anger aside so that we can see things in a new light.

This memorable tale is based on the true story about a Jewish Yankee soldier who celebrated the Seder with a Virginian Jewish family just after the end of the Civil War. This splendid book will give readers a great deal to think about. At the back of the book, there are additional notes about the real story of the Yankee soldier, and the meaning of Passover.