Cover image for The matzah man : a Passover story
The matzah man : a Passover story
Howland, Naomi.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Clarion Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
32 pages : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Just before the Passover seder, a man baked from scraps of matzo dough escapes from the oven and eludes a number of pursuers until he meets clever Mendel Fox.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.6 0.5 59149.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Childrens Area-Holiday
Clarence Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
Clearfield Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
Crane Branch Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Holiday
Kenilworth Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
Audubon Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
Niagara Branch Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Holiday
Frank E. Merriweather Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
Angola Public Library PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Holiday

On Order



In this lively adaptation of "The Gingerbread Boy," a bold little man made of matzah jumps out of the baker's oven and leads him and everyone in the neighborhood--all of whom are preparing for Passover--on a merry chase. With colossal chutzpah, the Matzah Man taunts Cousin Tillie as she is cooking brisket, Auntie Bertha trying on her new spring shoes, and Grandpapa Solly making gefilte fish. He at last arrives on the doorstep of clever Mendel Fox, who offers him a hiding place under the Passover matzah cover--and when the seder meal begins, that's the end of the Matzah Man! As she did in Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat, Naomi Howland has created a humorous tale, charmingly illustrated, that overflows with holiday festivity. Glossary.

Author Notes

Naomi Howland is the author and illustrator of several books for children, including The Matzah Man: A Passover Story and Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat: A Chanukah Story. She lives in Claremont, California.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-6. The story of the gingerbread boy gets a Jewish makeover when the character is transformed into the matzah man. The parameters of the story are familiar: a baker uses an extra pinch of dough to make a figure that comes alive and runs away from all those who would like to munch on him. That includes the baker; a hen; a goat; old cousin Tilly, carrying her brisket in a pan; and Uncle Solly, who's teary from peeling onions for his gefilte fish. This adaptation has warmth and humor and is told with a bit of Jewish vernacular. The matzah man behaves rudely, but kids may still be a bit shocked when he is eventually eaten by a family at a Passover seder. At least the gingerbread boy was eaten by a fox. The book design has a fresh, springlike feeling, with blue gingham borders on the cover, crisp white pages, and lots of grass-green and buttercup-yellow highlights. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Howland (Latkes, Latkes, Good Enough to Eat) makes the story of the Gingerbread Man kosher for Passover in a picture book that improves with repeat readings. Set in an indeterminately old-fashioned community where ladies wear white gloves, hats and fox stoles to go shopping, the story opens as the baker has made a little man out of leftover matzoh dough. Here it is Cousin Tillie, sampling her tender brisket; Auntie Bertha, the shopper; Grandpa Solly, chopping onions for gefilte fish; Miss Axelrod, adding the last matzoh ball to a pot of chicken soup; and a variety of animals who chase after the impish Matzah Man. The storytelling seems attenuated the first time around but all those matzoh-chasers play a role in the satisfying surprise finale. Children will want to return to the beginning to see how neatly Howland sets up her premise. Collage elements (these create the Matzah Man) mingle unobtrusively with almost drab gouaches in the illustrations, which, despite their unprepossessing first impression, are crammed with lively details. Ages 4-7. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-In this Passover version of the "Gingerbread Man," a baker makes his last bit of matzah dough into a tiny figure that proceeds to run away, chanting "Hot from the oven I jumped and ran,/So clever and quick, I'm the Matzah Man!" He encounters a variety of people and animals who enter into the cumulative chase, and each time he escapes, until young Mendel Fox convinces him to hide under the matzah cover, where he is broken and eaten by his pursuers. The simple story has a pleasant Jewish flavor, and the gouache, collage, and pencil illustrations are well rendered and amusing. The Matzah Man runs right out of the frames on several pages, and he is constantly in motion, keeping the tale flowing. While the author makes no attempt to explain the holiday, people acquainted with it will find plenty of familiar details, both in the text and in the paintings, including brisket, gefilte fish, and a beautifully set Passover table. Ultimately, this enjoyable tale would be a good addition to libraries looking to beef up their collections for their Jewish patrons.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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