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The House on the Roof

The House on the Roof

by David A. Adler, Marilyn Hirsh (Illustrator)

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


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

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
From the Publisher
"[A] good choice for introducing children to consideration of intercultural cooperation."

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

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

David Abraham Adler (born April 10, 1947) is the author of nearly 200 books for children and young adults, most notably the Cam Jansen mystery series, the "Picture Book of..." series, and several acclaimed works about the Holocaust for young readers.

Adler was born in New York City, New York. He graduated from Queens College in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in economics and education. For the next nine years, he worked as a mathematics teacher for the New York City Board of Education, while taking classes towards a master's degree in marketing, a degree he was awarded by New York University in 1971. In that same year, a question from his then-three-year-old nephew inspired Adler to write his first story, A Little at a Time, subsequently published by Random House in 1976. Adler's next project, a series of math books, drew on his experience as a math teacher. In 1977, he created his most famous character, Cam Jansen, originally featured in Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds, which was published that year.

Adler married psychologist Renee Hamada in 1973, and their first child, Michael, was born in 1977. By that time Adler had taken a break from teaching and, while his wife continued her work, he stayed home, took care of Michael, and began a full-time writing career.

Adler has three children and one grandson. He lives in Woodmere, New York.

Marilyn Hirsh, a children's author and illustrator, incorporated her Peace Corps experience in India and her Jewish heritage into much of her work, written and visual. Her interests in art and history also surfaced at the Indian art courses she taught at two New York colleges. In 1988, she died of cancer at the young age of 44.

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