The House on the Roof


Families will be moved by this endearing story of religious tolerance based on a real court case.

The old man from apartment 3D is building something very special. Every day he collects leaves, bottles, and other treasures; but every day the landlady yells at him. When she discovers a sukkah on her roof, ...

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Families will be moved by this endearing story of religious tolerance based on a real court case.

The old man from apartment 3D is building something very special. Every day he collects leaves, bottles, and other treasures; but every day the landlady yells at him. When she discovers a sukkah on her roof, she orders the old man to remove it, then takes him to court. But timing is everything, and the judge's decision may just appease all.

"[A] good choice for introducing children to consideration of intercultural cooperation." —Booklist

"Marilyn Hirsh has scored again with her detailed, humorous yet expressive renderings of the Sukkot Saga. Welcome to author David Adler." —Association of Jewish Libraries

"A moving little story about an old, old Jewish holiday." —America Magazine

Despite the protests of his landlady, an old man builds a Sukkah for himself and his grandchildren on the roof of an apartment building.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
An old man works hard to build a Sukkah on the roof of his apartment building, much to the displeasure of his landlady. He starts by bringing heavy crates up the stairs, hauling them up several flights amidst the admonitions of the landlady not to scratch the paint in the stairwell. He next collects leaves and acorns and is again warned not to drop anything for fear that someone might slip. Then he collects more crates, magazines, bottles, and branches, all of which the building owner considers to be junk. He works hard, hammering and sewing, until one day he brings his grandchildren to his building and up the stairs to the building roof. To the amazement of all, he has created a hut complete with tablecloth, candlesticks, and chains of leaves and acorns. The walls made from the crates are covered with pictures from the magazines. The man and his guests enjoy a delicious feast of cake, cookies, soda, and wine. It was a beautiful Sukkah. However, the landlady was not happy. She chased them with a broom, demanding that the Sukkah be removed. A few days later, the landlady and the old man were in court facing a judge. Her protest was that she had rented him an apartment and not the roof; she wanted the Sukkah removed. What did the judge decide? Like King Solomon, he made a very wise ruling. This story about a fall Jewish holiday can be read as one of perseverance, joy at the effort of creating a beautiful Sukkah, and discrimination (by the landlady) against someone practicing a religion that caused her no real harm. The purpose of the Sukkah and the religious holiday are not explained until the old man appears before the judge. Would the landlady have been more sympathetic if sheunderstood the holiday? Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823422326
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/15/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 929,661
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

David A. Adler has written more than one hundred books for children. He is the recipient of the Sydney Taylor Book Award, and his works have been named a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, a Golden Kite Honor Book, and an NCTE Orbis Pictus Award Honor Book. Visit his website at He lives with his family in New York State.

Marilyn Hirsh (1944-1988) was a celebrated children's author and illustrator. She taught at NYU's Institute of Fine Arts and the Cooper Union School. She received the UNESCO prize, the Noma Concours Award, the Sydney Taylor Body-Of-Work Award, and the Sydney Taylor Children's Book Award, among others. She published several titles with Holiday House, including I Love Passover, I Love Hanukkah, and The Tower of Babel.

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