“…an adorable rhyming story that children will love..
Perfect for ages 3-8."

The Jewish Journal

"…Kids will appreciate the easy rhyming scheme and bold pictures, and wish that they could invent their own Passover cleaning machine."

Publishers Weekly

“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

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.

KIRKUS REVIEWS

"… 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. It’s an entertaining story with clever rhythm and wordplay…”

Jewish Journal

"Izzy the Whiz has invented a gadget that every mom preparing for Passover would love to have…”

Hadassah Magazine

"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.' …Kids will appreciate the easy rhyming scheme and bold pictures, and wish that they could invent their own Passover cleaning machine."

Publishers Weekly

"Izzy the Whiz and Passover McClean (Kar-Ben) …has an infectious energy and sense of fun."

Jewish Woman

Izzy the Whiz & Passover McClean

Q&A with the Author

Where did you get the idea for Izzy the Whiz and Passover McClean?
The Idea for Izzy the Whiz came to me on a Shabbat afternoon just after I woke up from my post-
cholent nap. I imagined a boy inventor who came up with the most wondrous machine – one that would
clean the house for Passover. The character was much stronger than the plot at first. I could picture him
tinkering in his room with all of his gadgets and gizmos. My kids actually liked the idea. It took another
year until I actually started writing it.


How long did it take you to write Izzy the Whiz and Passover McClean?
I wrote the first draft over the course of a few days. That draft went through many of my own revisions.
Then my editors asked me to chop off about twenty five percent of the length, which is kind of like
hacking off your own fingers. After that, the story still went through many revisions with my editors.


What was it like finding a publisher for Izzy the Whiz and Passover McClean?
I sent a rough outline of Izzy the Whiz and Passover McClean to my critique partner and she wasn’t too
keen on it. I tucked it away for a while and then brought it with me to a writing conference in NY where
a seasoned editor was offering private critiques. I paid for my private meeting and I showed this editor
my rough draft.
“Nah,” she said. “Don’t even bother with that one.”
Yeah. She loved it.
I didn’t do anything with the manuscript for another two years. One day, my mother was visiting and I
happened upon the old file on my computer.
“You know,” I told my mother. “I have this old manuscript sitting here…”
“Give me a look,” she said.
I did. She loved it. Why not, I figured. After all, if your mother loves it, it must be good, right?
I sent it off to the wonderful Judye Groner at Kar-Ben Publishers and within a couple of days I got a
response.
“I showed it to my partner,” Judye said. “And she loved it! She’s really particular about what she loves.
It’s entertaining, educational and humorous, a great combination. We need to have an official meeting
but this is a great first step.”
It took a good few weeks until it was officially accepted and then a good few years until it actually saw
the light of day. But Izzy the Whiz received great reviews and went on to become a PJ library selection
which was distributed all over the United States.
I’m glad I didn’t listen to all the naysayers; I’m just sorry that it took so long for me to get there.

An interesting tidbit about Izzy the Whiz and Passover McClean:
This was the first book that I published with a company that does not exclusively publish orthodox
Jewish material. Kar-Ben accepts books with Jewish content and universal appeal. While I found my
editors respectful, I was a bit concerned about how my characters would look. I dress very modestly
according to Jewish Law and my sons wear yarmulkes, skullcaps at all times. Of course I didn’t expect
that the illustrations would reflect that but I hoped it would be something I could live with. In any event
I wasn’t going to say anything to my editors – it was my choice to publish with Kar-Ben knowing full well
who they are. I remember when Judye called me up and said “So….the mother is going to be wearing
long skirts and long-sleeves and Izzy will always be wearing either a yarmulke or a cap. I’m sorry but the
mother won’t be wearing a head covering, is that okay?” I was touched that Kar-Ben was so
accommodating to my sensitivities.


What is the comment you receive most often about Izzy the Whiz and Passover McClean?
Mothers constantly ask me where they can pick up a machine like Passover McClean to help them to
clean for Pesach (Passover). If I had one, I’d probably keep it for myself.

© Yael Mermelstein 2018. Lovingly handcrafted by Amrita.

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