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The Vanishing Gourds: A Sukkot Mystery

The Vanishing Gourds: A Sukkot Mystery

by Susan Axe-Bronk, Marta Monelli (Illustrator)

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The Jewish fall harvest festival celebrated in a temporary hut known as a sukkah is the focus of this slight story about sharing. Having carefully selected several gourds to hang from the sukkah roof as decorations, Sara and Avi are dismayed when the hard-shelled vegetables begin to fall, split open and are ravaged by the squirrels in their yard. Sara's anger inspires a dream she has that night in which the offending squirrel emerges to apologize and promises to bring new gourds the following year. Once awake, Sara imagines squirrels shopping for gourds at the local market and acknowledges their hunger with a pile of nuts carefully placed on the sukkah table. As the holiday ends, Sara makes sure the squirrels are well-fed throughout the year. When Sukkot rolls around again, Sara begins to clean up the patch of grass for the sukkah and is surprised to find a number of gourds growing there, sprouted from the seeds left by the squirrels the previous year. This contrivance--gourd vines are hard to miss, and does this family never mow?--fatally weakens the conclusion, with its implicit lesson of sharing. A more creative and endearing version of this theme can be found in Jamie Korngold's Sadie's Sukkah Breakfast (2011). Acrylic and graphite sketches in earthy tones add mild amusement to Sara's infuriating dilemma, though they do nothing to mitigate the implausibility of Sara's discovery. Even given the paucity of books on Sukkot, this is one to skip. (Picture book. 3-5)

Product Details

Kar-Ben Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 10.80(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Vanishing Gourds

A Sukkot Mystery

By Susan Axe-Bronk, Marta Monelli

Kar-Ben Publishing

Copyright © 2012 Susan Axe-Bronk
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7613-7503-6


Sara jumped in a pile of golden leaves, while squirrels gathered a corns nearby. "Would you like to go to the farm today?" her mom called out of the window.

It was almost Sukkot, her favorite holiday. Sara liked everything about Sukkot. She liked helping her dad build the sukkah.

She liked baking pumpkin pies and eating in the sukkah with her family.

But her favorite job was helping to decorate the sukkah with colorful gourds they bough teach year.

Sara and her mom drove past houses and stores and wide, sunny fields until they reached the farm. Their first stop was the petting zoo.

"Hello, Curly!" Sara greeted the littlest lamb. She watched chickens pecking at grain, and fed the goats some grass. Then they went over to the farm stand.

"Look!" Sara exclaimed, pointing to tables overflowing with gourds. There were so many colors and shapes and sizes. Sara chose seven beautiful gourds: three green, two orange, one red, and one yellow. "This is my favorite," she told her mom, holding up an orange gourd. It was S-shaped just like the first letter of her name.

When they arrived home, Sara's brother Avi helped her hang the gourds from the sukkah roof.


Excerpted from The Vanishing Gourds by Susan Axe-Bronk, Marta Monelli. Copyright © 2012 Susan Axe-Bronk. Excerpted by permission of Kar-Ben Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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