cover image Cakes and Miracles

Cakes and Miracles

Barbara Diamond Goldin. Viking Children's Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-83047-3

Set in an unnamed Eastern European village, this story of the joyous Jewish holiday of Purim has all the richness and the cadence of a classic folktale. Young Hershel may be blind, but he has plenty of spunk, and he's determined to help his mother with the baking of the traditional Purim hamantashen , pastries she sells in the marketplace. His offers are gently rejected, for how can a blind boy bake? When a visitant angel encourages him in a dream, however, the results are far better than anything either Hershel or his mother could have imagined. Goldin's prose is superb, and Weihs's illustrations--possessing a naive quality reminiscent of Barbara Cooney's art--bolster the story's old-world flavor and charm. An explanation of the Purim celebration and a recipe for hamantashen are included at the end. Ages 4-8. (Jan.)