This outstanding collection from the author of In the Month of Kislev spans the Jewish holiday calendar from Rosh Hashanah to Passover. Drawn primarily from traditional sources, the entries offer a kaleidoscopic view of faith and ritual throughout the centuries, from a creation tale from the Midrash to shtetl stories featuring the fools of Chelm. In the leisurely yet dramatic style of an Old World storyteller, with vivid descriptions that evoke faraway times and places, Jaffe spins the Hanukkah story of Hannah, who outwitted a king; a Moroccan Passover tale of a selfish brother; and even a folktale for the weekly Sabbath. Useful information includes a brief historical introduction to each story, a glossary of Hebrew and Yiddish terms and lively source notes. Elivia's ( Billy and the Bad Teacher ) delicate crayon-and-watercolor illustrations are rendered with fluid, folk-inspired forms loosely suggestive of Chagall. While her style is homogeneous, it is also versatile enough to adapt to the range of moods evoked by the stories, including the raw energy of a roiling sea on Yom Kippur and the placidity of children collecting branches for a village sukkah. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)
- Susie Wilde
My favorite new storybook describes six holidays from Rosh Hashanah to Passover as well as the Sabbath. This book honors Judaism by placing Hanukkah in the context of other holidays and choosing stories that stand for the spirit of each celebration. The author honors her ancestry with the distinctiveness of her tale telling and the diverse sources she represents.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 5-These stories that represent Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Hanukkah, Purim, Passover, and Shabbat beg to be read aloud. They are appropriate for families to share, and also for readers with little knowledge of the Jewish holidays. Six of the selections are from traditional sources; one, ``The Magician's Spell,'' about Sukkot, is original. Each tale is enlivened by a full-page watercolor-and-crayon illustration. Background information about the holidays and the Hebrew calendar is included, as are notes about the tales. The lyricism of the prose and the liveliness of the illustrations make this book a fine addition to folklore collections.- Micki S. Nevett, Temple Beth Emeth Library, Albany, NY
Elivia's bright, flowing artwork, in a rainbow of colors, reflects both the magic and the joy of the seven splendid Jewish holiday tales simply and beautifully retold here. From an original story in which a magician's spell makes adults forget how to celebrate Sukkot to a humorous yarn about two of the residents of the silly town of Chelm, the tales--one each for Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah, Sukkot, Passover, and Purim--are dramatic, fabulous, clever, and magical, and each reflects the message or spirit of the holiday as deftly discussed in Jaffe's story introductions. In a separate chapter, Jaffe thoroughly explains her sources and includes by-the-by information on the tales. She also provides a helpful glossary, with pronunciation guidance, that will be wonderful for young readers as well as teachers who want to explore Jewish culture in more depth. A bibliography and a list of recommended reading titles will help kids further pursue their interest.