Sukkot is one of those Jewish holidays that never get a fair shake, literary-wise. But Kimmel and Krenina (previously paired for The Castle of the Cats) go a long way toward remedying this situation with a lyrically rendered tale of charity rewarded. In ancient times, two brothers-stingy, rich Eben and generous, poor Ezra-are each dwelling in a temporary shelter known as a sukkah, as is customary during the seven-day celebration. A disheveled-looking trio, who are actually Abraham, Isaac and Jacob down from heaven in search of a few good menschen, visit the brothers in turn, testing their hospitality, offering parables and pronouncing judgment with a phrase-"May this sukkah's outside be like its inside"-which quickly proves to have a double meaning. Krenina's stylized, harvest-toned acrylics and thoughtful, dark-eyed characters evoke a world where the everyday and mystical are intertwined, and righteousness is clear-cut. As usual, Kimmel takes an expansive, grandfatherly tone, offering a lesson wrapped in a reassuring hug. Ages 6-10. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Mysterious Guests: A Harvest Storyby Eric A. Kimmel, Katya Krenina
It was the season of Sukkot, the Jewish harvest festival. Two brothers each built a sukkah, or shelter, to celebrate and share in the gifts of the earth. One brother was very rich; the other brother was very poor. He built a sukkah of found materials and leftover
Master storyteller Eric A. Kimmel spins a tale of Sukkot just in time for the Jewish harvest festival.
It was the season of Sukkot, the Jewish harvest festival. Two brothers each built a sukkah, or shelter, to celebrate and share in the gifts of the earth. One brother was very rich; the other brother was very poor. He built a sukkah of found materials and leftover goods, yet he invited all to share the holiday with him. When three mysterious guests visit each brother on Sukkot, they leave behind a special blessing that recognizes the generosity of the heart.
Kimmel weaves common folk elements with traditions from the Jewish holiday. Two brothers set up their sukkot. The stingy, rich brother has a beautiful one but begrudges food to strangers. The poor, kind brother's humble sukkah is open to all. The biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are the mysterious guests who curse the unwelcoming host and bless the hospitable one. All ends well as the kind brother gains the riches he deserves, while the mean one learns his lesson. Readers will enjoy the sensory frisson as each sukkah transforms into the rotted shell or glittering bower that represents its inner atmosphere. Universal themes of hospitality and justice make the story emotionally satisfying. Krenina's dark, rich paintings support the folktale flavor of the original story. This entertaining tale conveys important values that are applicable year-round and in every tradition.-Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
- Holiday House, Inc.
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- Product dimensions:
- 8.60(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.40(d)
- Age Range:
- 6 - 9 Years
Meet the Author
Eric A. Kimmel is a celebrated children’s author and master storyteller. His books have won National Jewish Book Awards, and he has been given the Sydney Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in Oregon.
Katya Krenina does stylized, contemporary illustrations which have been lavishly praised by reviewers and heralded as "stunning" by the New York Times Book Review. Publishers Weekly has compared her style to that of Chagall, for its intuitive, dreamlike quality. Raised in Lvov, Ukraine, Ms. Krenina now resides in New York.
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