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Susan Kusel and Sean Rubin - The Passover Guest

Susan Kusel and Sean Rubin share THE PASSOVER GUEST, a new picture book that takes place in Depression-era DC and follows a young girl named Muriel home from the Tidal Basin to her parent’s empty table side on the evening of Passover. On her way home Muriel meets a strange magician who encourages her to hurry home. What miracle awaits for her and her family causes Muriel to run out and seek the rabbi in order to ask if they could proceed with the astonishing meal. The book is beautifully illustrated and a reminder that Passover is for everyone.

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Muriel assumes her family is too poor to hold a Passover Seder this year, but an act of kindness and a mysterious magician change everything.

It's the Spring of 1933 in Washington D.C., and the Great Depression is hitting young Muriel's family hard. Her father has lost his job, and her family barely has enough food most days, let alone for a Passover Seder. They don't even have any wine to leave out for the prophet Elijah's ceremonial cup.

With no feast to rush home to, Muriel wanders by the Lincoln Memorial, where she encounters a mysterious magician in whose hands juggled eggs become lit candles. After she makes a kind gesture, he encourages her to run home for her Seder, and when she does, she encounters a holiday miracle, a bountiful feast of brisket, soup, and matzah. But who was this mysterious benefactor? When Muriel sees Elijah's ceremonial cup is empty, she has a good idea.

This fresh retelling of the classic I.L. Peretz story, best known through Uri Shulevitz's 1973 adaptation The Magician, has been sumptuously illustrated by noted graphic novelist Sean Rubin, who based his art on photographs of D.C. in the 1930s. An author note with information about the holiday is included.


Susan Kusel (website)

Sean Rubin (website)


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