Scarlett and Sam Escape from Egypt

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Confessions of a Closet Cathulic book coverWhat the Book is About:

When twins Scarlett and Sam argue over who will ask the Four Questions at the seder, their grandmother explains that the story of the Exodus connects the Jewish people through the centuries, the way her old Persian carpet is woven into a whole from many threads. The children suddenly find themselves flying back in time on the carpet to the time of Moses and the Pharaoh -- back to the Exodus from Egypt. This is a light time-travel novel that really brings the Passover story to life. There is plenty to amuse kids, like the sibling rivalry between Moses and Pharaoh and the kids’ podcasting from ancient Egypt, but there is also some poignancy. This is a fun, informative and very kid-friendly choice for younger readers.

Jewish Content and Values

  • The story of the Exodus from Egypt is told in a way that will help readers connect with the requirement in the seder to view themselves as though they came out of Egypt.
     
  • When Grandma Mina talks about the threads of the carpet representing the past and present of the Jewish people, she is highlighting the concept of L’Dor V’Dor (from generation to generation), the passing down of traditions to keep them alive and ensure the continuity of the Jewish people.

Positive Rule Models

  • Pharaoh’s teenaged son, Seti, is kind to Scarlett and Sam. He plays basketball with the younger children and gives them food, and he tries to convince his father to rule with love and mercy rather than through fear.
  • Moses leads the Jews with compassion and feels sorrow at the death of his Egyptian brother, Pharaoh, and nephew, Seti.
  • Scarlett and Sam try to rescue Seti, and they help Moses overcome his fear of water by giving him the courage to enter the Red Sea.

Content Advisory

The children befriend Pharaoh’s kind eldest son, Seti, who later dies in the tenth plague. Readers may find this distressing.

Pharaoh is a bully who makes fun of Moses’s stutter and his nose. Though presented in the context of sibling rivalry, the negative comments about a disability and appearance may be upsetting to some readers.

Topics to Discuss

Scarlett and Sam ask why Seti had to die when Pharaoh lived, and Moses says that Seti was a fine young man who would have made a great Pharaoh, but that we have to trust God even when we don’t understand God’s actions. Why do you think the slaying of the first born was necessary?

More for You

Though the structure of the seder is the same for Jews around the world, different Jewish communities have different Passover customs. Did you know that during the song “Dayenu,” Mizrachi Jews (Jews originally from the Middle East) hit each other lightly with scallions to represent the lashes of the Egyptian slave masters? Some Ethiopian Jews break all their cooking dishes and make a new set to symbolize making a break from the past, while Jews in Gibraltar actually put the dust from bricks into their charoset. Does your family or community have a special Passover tradition?