cover image The Mysterious Guests: A Sukkot Story

The Mysterious Guests: A Sukkot Story

Eric A. Kimmel, , illus. by Katya Krenina. . Holiday, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1893-0

Sukkot is one of those Jewish holidays that never get a fair shake, literary-wise. But Kimmel and Krenina (previously paired for The Castle of the Cats ) go a long way toward remedying this situation with a lyrically rendered tale of charity rewarded. In ancient times, two brothers—stingy, rich Eben and generous, poor Ezra—are each dwelling in a temporary shelter known as a sukkah, as is customary during the seven-day celebration. A disheveled-looking trio, who are actually Abraham, Isaac and Jacob down from heaven in search of a few good menschen , visit the brothers in turn, testing their hospitality, offering parables and pronouncing judgment with a phrase—“May this sukkah's outside be like its inside”—which quickly proves to have a double meaning. Krenina's stylized, harvest-toned acrylics and thoughtful, dark-eyed characters evoke a world where the everyday and mystical are intertwined, and righteousness is clear-cut. As usual, Kimmel takes an expansive, grandfatherly tone, offering a lesson wrapped in a reassuring hug. Ages 6–10. (Sept.)