Working as hard as any adult slave, this young girl expresses her bewilderment and fear as leaping frogs and itching, biting fleas disturb the masters. Fatal illness creeps in, affecting beast and man except in the Jewish homes marked with lamb’s blood. Rhyming verse carries the Passover story with a lyrical flair. “Made our way to sifting sands, / Scrambling feet, but clasping hands. / Thirsting, thrilling, full of fright— / None of us were slaves that night.” Ominously dark and murky paintings done in acrylic portray the frightened, fleeing throng finally reaching a wild, thrashing sea that is “ripped in two!” Confusion and trepidation turn to joyful surprise, as indicated by the rose-colored backdrop behind a smiling daughter and mother, thrilled to have crossed over to the open land and freedom. This poetic, child-oriented interpretation brings a dramatic insight and illumination to the ancient legend.
I want to write something more about this book soon here, about what it means to have written it, to have it coming out. It felt so so so so impossible, when I began to write it, years ago.
But for now, i just want to say how honored I am by Catia Chien’s powerful art, the amazing job Schwartz & Wade has done with it. And I’m so so pleased that Kirkus llikes it too!