The children put together a topsy-turvy Purim play featuring Queen Esther.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyIn Schotter's clever introduction to Purim, the show must go on, even if two performers have the flu. Every year, Frannie, her brother Ezra, and their two cousins put on a Purim play, reenacting the Bible story of how Queen Esther saved the Jews from the evil prime minister Haman. When her cousins fall ill and can't perform, Frannie is disappointed that her neighbor Mrs. Teplitzky offers to play one of the roles. But her worries are soon put to rest when Mrs. Teplitzky, who used to be a real actress, arrives in a splendid costume. Within this framework, Schotter weaves in details about hamantaschen (the special Purim pastries) and the tradition of mishloah manot (sending Purim sweets to relatives and friends). Hafner's lively watercolors depict a busy, close-knit family enjoying last-minute holiday preparations. Two helpful endnotes explain the story of Purim and how it is celebrated, and a recipe for "Mama's Famous `Bet-You-Can't-Eat-Just-One' Apricot-Orange Hamantaschen" is also included. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Jessy DeutschWith wit and compassion and the high energy that characterizes the Jewish holiday of Purim, this book would certainly be a kick for children who celebrate the springtime tribute to good over evil, and an accessible introduction to what it means for those who don't. With homey illustrations and believable characters, the story captures the flavors, colors, and most importantly, the essential meaning of the holiday in a way that children will relate to and appreciate. Simple historical facts and ceremonial descriptions, as well as a recipe for "hamentaschen" at the back of the book bring the experience off the pages and into reality. It is a delightful tale and a winner of the National Jewish Book Award.
School Library JournalK-Gr 2Frannie and her siblings celebrate Purim by re-enacting the story on which the holiday is based. This year, however, their play is in danger because their cousins have the flu and can't take part. The children are surprised and dismayed to learn that their mother has recruited a neighbor, Mrs. Teplitzky, who speaks with a "funny" accent, to play the evil Haman, who intended to kill all of the Jews. The elderly widow turns out to be a superb villain and steals the show. She also becomes a friend. Woven into the text are customs associated with the holiday. A page of information about the history of Purim and another on how it is celebrated round out the book. Cheerful watercolor illustrations and cartoonlike characters full of expression complement a warm, lively text.Libby K. White, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
Kirkus ReviewsA funny companion to Hanukkah! (1990) and Passover Magic (1995), by the same team. Here young Frannie is distraught because a cousin, who always takes the part of villain Haman in the annual family Purim play, has the flu, and her mother has invited a neighbor, eccentric old Mrs. Teplitzky, to join the family celebration and play the role. Mrs. Teplitzky (a dead ringer for Grandma Rose in Hanukkah!) turns out to have been an actress in her youth, makes up stagestruck Frannie as the most fetching Esther ever, and coaxes brother Ezra out of his wooden delivery of Mordechai's lines. The play is a rousing success, and by the end of the evening Frannie and Mrs. Teplitzky, with their mutual love of theater, are good friends. Another warm, amenable look at family life during a special holiday. (Picture book. 5-8)
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