Izzy the Whiz and Passover McClean

  • Interest Level: Preschool - Grade 2
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

Izzy the Whiz is an amateur inventor who, right before Passover, creates a super duper machine that whirs and purrs and munches and crunches and miraculously cleans the entire house just in time for the holiday – but not without creating havoc along the way. A fun, crazy, rhyming tale a la Dr. Seuss.

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Interest Level Preschool - Grade 2
Reading Level Grade 2
Genre Picture Books
Copyright 2012
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Kar-Ben Publishing ®
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2014-01-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV017120, JUV033020
Dewey [E]
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 9.75 x 9.75
ATOS Reading Level 3.6
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 149754
Accelerated Reader® Points 0.5
Features Reviewed

Illustrator: Carrie Hartman

Carrie Hartman grew up knowing she would illustrate picture books some day. Her school and local library were her favorite places to be when she was young. She graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with her degree in Illustration. Carrie’s illustration work can be seen nationally and internationally in: picture books, editorial publications, animated projects, advertising, greeting cards, and much more. Carrie finds that working on picture books is very special. Having children tell her that one of her picture books is the book they have their parents read it to them every night before bed is the biggest honor that she could hope for. Carrie teaches in the illustration department at MCAD. She freelances from her studio and is currently writing her own picture books.


Jewish Book World

“Izzy’s brand new invention, the Super-McDuper Passover McClean, can suck up all of the books, rugs, curtains, lamps, tables, chairs, toys, and dishes and spit them back out clean, washed and dried without a trace of hametz. More amazing still, Passover McClean puts everything back in its place! But Izzy faces a near disaster when his invention malfunctions with the living room stuck inside. Luckily, he is able to fix it before his Mom wakes up and miraculously, the entire house gleams and sparkles by the ti me the family sits down for the Seder. The crazy, colorful illustrations perfectly complement the imaginative, rhyming text, which scans well and is a joy to read. Izzy is adorable with his bright eyes, large round glasses, wide grin, and baseball cap, and it is refreshing to see a lively, vibrant, contemporary family celebrating a Jewish holiday. A simple two-sentence author’s note introduces Passover along with a slightly longer explanation of Hametz. Like the old favorite Only Nine Chairs by Deborah Uchill Miller (Kar-Ben, 1982), the slight, silly story line will not elevate or enhance the reader’s understanding of the holiday but it is nevertheless a fun, fluffy addition to the Passover bookshelf. Recommended for ages 3 -8.”—Jewish Book World

JTA (Global News Service of the Jewish People)

“In this delightful rhyming tale, Izzy invents a cleaning machine to help his mother in the ritual house cleaning before the start of Passover. Mom takes a rest and leaves Izzy in charge.

Think Dr. Seuss meets robot vacuum cleaner: ‘Izzy pressed the red button, McClean lurched and whirred. He cranked the green handle, it belched and it purred. The hungry machine chomped ten books for its lunch. Gobbled the rug, and continued to munch.’ Trouble of the Cat in the Hat-type follows, of course, but all is neatly tidied up before the start of the seder. Hartman’s cartoon-like illustrations are playful and lively – a perfect fit for the zany fun of this entertaining book.”—JTA

School Library Journal

“In this playful and appealing picture book, young Izzy is busy inventing a machine that will rid the house of hametz, primarily foods such as bread and grains that are forbidden during Passover. Seeking out all the nibbles and crumbs that have accumulated throughout the year can be daunting, so it’s understandable when Izzy’s mother says the mere thought of cleaning is giving her a ‘bread-ache.’ But Izzy assures her that help is on the way in the form of ‘His special invention! His brand new machine!/The Super-McDuper Passover McClean!’ a robot-type creation that swallows up everything in the room and spits it back out clean and hametz-free. The well-paced, snappy and expressive rhyme is accompanied by watercolor-and-pencil spreads in spring colors that perfectly suit the energetic text. With his plaid shirt, big round glasses, and baseball cap, Izzy looks the part of a child who loves to tinker with stuff in his room, and his McClean is anthropomorphized into a visually amusing character with jagged teeth and a big metal belly. When Izzy, his mother, and his brother sit down for Seder, the house is ‘Passover clean-not a speck of real bread.’ Given that many families begin to clean weeks in advance, kids everywhere will be wishing for a Passover McClean of their own.”—School Library Journal

AJL Newsletter

“Izzy is an inventor. To help his mother clean the house for Passover, Izzy invents a machine called Passover McClean which swallows rooms of soiled furniture and spits out the furniture completely clean for Passover. There is a glitch in the machine which Izzy repairs. Thanks to Izzy and Passover McClean, Izzy and his parents sit down for the seder in a sparkling and gleaming house. Carrie Hartman’s illustrations are charming: Izzy is a wide-eyed young boy who wears large circular glasses and a multicolored baseball cap. He looks like an inventor. Passover McClean is a whimsically drawn, gray metal machine with a very large mouth. The fanciful full-page illustrations add fun and whimsy to the rhyming text. Izzy the Whiz and Passover McClean is recommended for synagogue and school libraries.” AJL Newsletter

Jewish Community Voice (Southern New Jersey)

“Izzy the whiz kid has created the perfect invention, just in time for Passover. Izzy is no ordinary kid; he is an amateur inventor. His mother is experiencing Passover blues as she is trying to tidy the house for Passover and rid it of any hametz.

Izzy has just the solution to help ease his mother’s stress. He decides to invent a machine that can clean the house and make it neat just in time for Passover. His new invention is called Super- McDuper Passover McClean.

Izzy is ready to test Mr. McClean. He hits the red button and cranks the green handle, and Mr. McClean comes to life, belching and purring and ready for work.

He whirls around Izzy’s bedroom, eating all the crumbs in his room as well as the bed, the rug, the books on his shelf and his toys and much more, and then, Mr. McClean does an about-face and spits each item out and puts them back in place.

Izzy checks his room and there is not a crumb or a thing out of place. Mr. McClean is a success. Now it is time to surprise his mother while she is sleeping and do the living room.

Izzy turns on Mr. McClean and he sucks up the cordless phone, the desk, a computer, but wait, Izzy smells smoke, and sees a spark. Poor Mr. McClean has gone dark and even worse; all the items in the living room are stuck inside him.

Thank goodness Izzy is so handy. He pulls out his tools and begins to work on Mr. McClean. Soon he comes back to life and spews all the items out, but Izzy is confused, everything is upside down. So he hits the reverse button and saves the day. Everything is returned to its proper order.

When it’s time for the seder on Passover night, the house is spotless and Izzy’s mom is thrilled with how everything turned out.

This is an adorable rhyming story that children will love. It is cheery and entertaining and filled with bright and beautiful illustrations to capture kids’ imagination. There is also a glossary in the back of the book to teach children about this important Jewish holiday.

Perfect for ages 3-8.” —The Jewish Journal

Jewish Journal

“Forget the candle and the feather—here is a charming book for children that tackles the topic of chametz cleaning through a feat of magical engineering. It’s a funny, rhymed tale of a whiz kid, named Izzy, who wants to give his harried mother a break from Passover cleaning. He invents a robot-like Passover cleaning machine that he names ‘Passover McClean’ and then tells her to go rest while the machine does its work. (She complains she has a bit of a ‘bread-ache.’) With somewhat of a nod to Sylvester McMonkey McBean, Dr. Seuss’ ‘Fix-It-Up-Chappie’ who invents a ‘star-off’ machine, the author imagines young Izzy as the same sort of mechanical genius. At first his machine performs admirably, but by the time he lets it loose on the living room, Izzy finds it necessary to locate the emergency hatch and press the red button to set things right for Passover McClean. It’s an entertaining story with clever rhythm and wordplay, and appealing cartoonish illustrations. A simple author’s note at the end explains the concept of searching for chametz before Passover.” —Jewish Journal

Jewish Woman

Izzy the Whiz and Passover McClean (Kar-Ben, $7.95) is written for slightly older children, ages 3–8, but also has an infectious energy and sense of fun. Written in rhyme, it celebrates the ingenuity of Izzy, an amateur inventor, who creates a machine to clean the house for Passover. Though the machine goes a little haywire, ingenious Izzy knows what to do and everything comes out fine in the end. This entertaining tale was written by Israeli Yael Mermelstein and illustrated by Carrie Hartman.” —Jewish Woman

New Jersey Jewish Standard

“In this delightful rhyming tale, Izzy invents a cleaning machine to help his mother in the ritual house cleaning before the start of Passover. Mom takes a rest and leaves Izzy in charge. Think Dr. Seuss meets robot vacuum cleaner: ‘Izzy pressed the red button, McClean lurched and whirred, he cranked the green handle, it belched and it purred. The hungry machine chomped ten books for its lunch. Gobbled the rug, and continued to munch.’” —New Jersey Jewish Standard


“If you got rid of your sister and the fish in the pot, gave your mom a migraine, and invited the Cat in the Hat to clean up the house for Passover, you just might get this book. When Izzy the Whiz is admonished by his stressed-out mother for a bedroom crammed with Passover contraband ‘hametz’ (anything made with leavened flour) right before the holidays, this bespectacled boy-inventor creates a machine that scrubs the whole house clean leaving ‘Not a flake! Not a cake! Not a cookie or crumb!’ Not without mishap, of course. Children will enjoy the topsy-turvy illustrations that show furniture and household bric-a-brac being gobbled, spat up, and put to rights by a multi-armed, fanged contraption on wheels. Although its plotline and audience may be limited, the rhyming text does a good job explaining a tenet of the Torah through a humorous and accessible story.”—Bayviews

Hadassah Magazine

“Izzy the Whiz has invented a gadget that every mom preparing for Passover would love to have: a wacky vacuum-washer thingamajig that will swallow everything in a room, spin it clean, remove the hametz and spit it out. But what if the Super-McDuper Passover McClean machine goes on the fritz and everything comes out upside down? Futuristic and whimsical illustrations make this a blast.” —Hadassah Magazine

Publishers Weekly

“Pre-Passover cleaning gets a fun twist in this rhyming tale. Izzy, an amateur inventor, has created a mother’s ultimate dream: a house-cleaning machine, and just in time for Passover. Izzy knows that all the crumbs in his home must be removed before the holiday, and his invention will do just that. ‘All were blown, all were thrown into Izzy’s machine/A pre-holiday feast for Passover McClean.’ McClean hits a snag, however, when the machine malfunctions right after it has inhaled the entire living room for cleaning, but before it has spit it back out, dirt free. Izzy must then use his inventor’s mind to make things right hours before the holiday begins. Kids will appreciate the easy rhyming scheme and bold pictures, and wish that they could invent their own Passover cleaning machine.” —Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

“Eager to help his overworked, stressed mother during the pre-Passover spring cleaning, a little boy invents a super vacuum-type machine that does more than a clean sweep.

Wearing a baseball cap and circle-shaped glasses, the round-faced, google-eyed Izzy is a whiz at creating all things science in his room, which is filled with cookie crumbs and other leftover foods. While Mom takes a nap, Izzy promises to have everything neat, clean and free of hametz (foods unacceptable during Passover) by using his ‘Super-McDuper Passover McClean’ machine. It works like a charm in his bedroom, where everything is eaten by McClean, whirled and swirled, washed and dried and then spit out and put back in place. But cleaning the living room becomes more complicated with a McClean malfunction that first swallows everything in sight and then, with Izzy’s tinkering, spits everything out upside down. ‘Izzy jammed on REVERSE. / And reverse did the trick! That McClean was so slick, / Turned the whole room right over and did it real quick.’ Subdued watercolors create nevertheless zany illustrations to accompany the Prelutsky-style rhymes, presenting a confident and seriously earnest youngster working out his experimental mishaps to achieve a sparkling success.

A humorous if silly way to introduce the concept of removing any leavened foods from the home as part of pre-holiday preparation."