The Longest Night

by Laurel Snyder and Catia Chien

The Passover story of the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt is told in the voice of a... read more

The Passover story of the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt is told in the voice of a young slave girl who witnesses the ten plagues and eventually makes the journey with thousands of others to freedom. Laurel Snyder's rhyming narrative conveys the strife, the uncertainty, and the fear, but also moments of reassurance. "Strangely, Aba seemed to wait / Calmly for each harsh new fate, / Sat and whittled in his chair, / I sat too, and said a prayer." With the order to flee comes chaos, but also hope. "Made our way to sifting sands, / Scrambling feet, but clasping hands. / Thirsting, thrilling, full of fright- / None of us were slaves that night." The muted palette of Catia Chien's illustrations reflect the grittiness of the girl's life, but brightens symbolically with the crossing of the parted sea at story's end. In an author's note, Snyder remembers listening to the Exodus story during Passovers as a child. "The story was mostly Moses and Pharaoh bargaining for the lives of everyone else ... I wanted to know what it was like to be a child of Israel. I couldn't quite picture it. This book is my answer to the curious girl I was." (Ages 4-8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2014

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