Silverman (The Halloween House, 1997, etc.) tells of Raisel, an orphan girl who is raised by her scholarly grandfather until his death; three wishes from an old beggar woman allow Raisel to attend the Purim play dressed as Queen Esther, where she captures the attention of the rabbi’s son. It is her clever riddle about the precious nature of learning, however, that eventually wins his heart. Carefully crafted, this story not only entertains, but it teaches readers about the Jewish holiday, Purim, Queen Esther, and the tradition of costumed re-enactment. Unlike a majority of the other versions of the Cinderella story, this one does not include a self-absorbed prince who combs the countryside looking for a bride of a particular shoe size; refreshingly, Silverman’s hero is as intelligent as he is handsome, and seeks a bride who is his equal. Graber’s illustrations are the perfectly complement, embodying Raisel’s transformation from a life of servitude to one of riches “more precious than rubies.” (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 2, 1999

ISBN: 0-374-36168-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1999

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This lovely story of tradition and family security has moments both gentle and funny, and a recipe for the main dish. Yussel loves Shabbos. On that day of peace, his parents don’t work and they all visit with friends and relatives or go to the park. Yussel’s favorite part is the meal of special round balls of gefilte fish. Every week, Papa rises early to catch the strange fish, and every week, Yussel yearns to go with him. One morning, Yussel’s wish comes true. Through a tender day at the lake with Papa, Yussel learns exactly what a gefilte fish is. His trip and his ultimate contributions to the family ritual are enhanced by Krenina’s fanciful illustrations; these evoke both the excitement of landing the fish and the warm gathering of family that night at sunset. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-525-45449-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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