Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale

Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale

by Barbara Diamond Goldin, Jaime Zollars

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A blind boy makes hamentashen for Purim after imagining the cookie shapes in his mind.


A blind boy makes hamentashen for Purim after imagining the cookie shapes in his mind.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this newly illustrated and condensed version of Goldin's 1991 title of the same name, young Hershel's "blindness did not keep him from going to school, or shaking pears from the neighbor's tree, or catching frogs in the river." Still, his mother has a hard time believing he can contribute much to her hamantashen business, an important source of family income. With encouragement from an angel, Hershel proves that the "images dancing in his head" can be used for cookies that not only become the hot Purim item in the marketplace but also open up a world of possibilities for his future. Goldin's solemn, earnest tale is a far cry from a holiday associated with boisterous behavior; readers would probably begin squirming after a few pages if it weren't for Zollars's (Inside the Slidy Diner) acrylic and collage illustrations. The generously scaled characters, with their huge heads and thoughtful, dark eyes, act like magnets for children's attention, while the moody palette and dreamy, textured settings evoke a place and time when a strong will (and a little heavenly intervention) could truly work wonders. Ages 5–8. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—"Hershel was the only blind boy in his village. But his blindness did not keep him from going to school, or shaking pears from the neighbor's trees, or catching frogs in the river." And, he is still able to help his mother by fetching, carrying, and cleaning. He wishes he could help her more, especially when she bakes three-corned cakes, called hamantashen to sell in the marketplace at Purim time. When an angel appears in his dream and encourages him to make what he sees when he closes his eyes, Hershel sneaks into the kitchen and forms his mother's cookie dough into beautiful shapes. His mother's hamantashen and his special cookies sell out quickly and Hershel earns the praise of the town baker. Edited significantly from the 1991 edition, the new text is more accessible to a younger audience and works better as a read-aloud. Rich, full-spread illustrations in collage and acrylic paint warmly depict the Eastern European shtetl setting with expression and dimension. Fans of the original will be thrilled to see this title back in print; the shortened text and new art will introduce this wonderful holiday story of courage and imagination to a new generation of readers.—Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL
Kirkus Reviews

Goldin pares down her original tale, published in 1991 with illustrations by Erika Weihs, to a succinct story and gives Basha, the mother, a less restrictive and critical voice.Hershel, the blind son, confident his disability does not prevent him from mentally visualizing and then making shapes while playing in the mud, wishes to be more helpful to his mother, who rebuffs him, though lovingly: "Such a good imagination my son has!" Sleepless on the night before Purim, he creates inventively shaped cookies from his mother's hamantashen dough.Basha is surprised and delighted to find him with his finished sweets and allows him to sell them at the market, where he is quite a success.Hershel and Basha are further encouraged by a fellow baker, who tells him, "You'll be a talented baker someday," despite his disability. Large double-page spreads in muted green and brown tones rendered in collage and acrylic provide fully descriptive scenes of Eastern European shtetl life for this positive and upbeat retelling. (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

Amazon Childrens Publishing
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
11.00(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.40(d)
AD510L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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