Sukkot Treasure Hunt

Sukkot Treasure Hunt

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by Allison Ofanansky

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Set in Israel, the story follows a family as it collects the items needed to set up the Sukkah to celebrate Sukkot. They use wood to provide the structural supports and curtains to make the walls. Leafy branches are used to create the roof, and the kids prepare illustrations to hang on the walls. This account of the Jewish holiday emphasizes the acquisition of the "four species"—that is, the four plants that are held together and waved around during every morning of Sukkot. The species include the lulav (branch from a date palm) bound with aravot (branches from a willow tree), hadas (myrtle) and etrog (a fruit that resembles a lemon). While these items can be bought in a market, the family in this story decides to try and find them in the wild near the city of Tezfat. They take hikes and succeed in finding three of the species, and we get to enjoy seeing their picnic and adventures on these outings. The only item that they cannot find is the etrog. Luckily, the young girl and her family run into one of her school friends, who has an etrog tree in her yard. What luck! Now, they can pick one of the fruits to complete their treasure hunt for all four of the species. The backmatter explains more about the species mentioned and also discusses the meaning and purpose of Sukkot. The story is filled with photographs of a real family on a real holiday adventure—one that readers might want to emulate, but may find difficult due to the unavailability of the plant material in their locale. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—An Israeli girl goes on a Sukkot "treasure hunt" with her parents to find the four items (date palm, willow, myrtle, and etrog fruit) used to celebrate the harvest holiday. They find the first three plants during a hike in the hills, and the last is offered by a friend who has an etrog tree in his courtyard. Each step of the hunt is illustrated by sun-dappled photographs of the charming child and her laid-back parents. Books on the Jewish celebration of Sukkot are few and far between, and this one is unique in its focus. An endnote describes the various plants the family sees and mentions that the Torah commands Jews to "take the branches and fruit of beautiful trees and rejoice" at harvest time. However, little explanation is offered on the symbolism and function of the plants in the observance. Readers unfamiliar with Sukkot may be mystified by the fuss made over them, and by the very brief mention of the sukkah built by the family. The book is well suited to observant audiences and will be a boon to Jewish educational institutions, but seems to lack the bridging material to bring other readers onboard.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Kirkus Reviews
Clear, colorful photographs follow a young family's quest to find all the "four species" (from the Hebrew arba minim) used to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot, the harvest holiday observed with the symbolic use of the branches of a palm, willow and myrtle tree and the Middle Eastern citrus fruit etrog. Because these are plants that naturally grow in Israel, the family takes a hike near their home in Tzefat to see if they can harvest them rather than buy them at the market. The spirit of the holiday's significance is captured throughout the family's outing, which is treated as a treasure hunt and which successfully culminates in a meal in the family's Sukkah, the outside hut families create for the week-long celebration. Reading daughter Aravah's first-person account, children will identify with the fun and wonder of her discoveries as her parents guide and instruct each step of the search. A realistic and eco-friendly perspective of both simple Israeli life and the holiday. Holiday explanation and Fun Facts included. (Picture book. 4-6)

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Product Details

Kar-Ben Publishing
Publication date:
Sukkot and Simchat Torah Series
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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