cover image Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale

Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale

Barbara Diamond Goldin, illus. by Jaime Zollars, Marshall Cavendish, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7614-5701-5

In this newly illustrated and condensed version of Goldin's 1991 title of the same name, young Hershel's "blindness did not keep him from going to school, or shaking pears from the neighbor's tree, or catching frogs in the river." Still, his mother has a hard time believing he can contribute much to her hamantashen business, an important source of family income. With encouragement from an angel, Hershel proves that the "images dancing in his head" can be used for cookies that not only become the hot Purim item in the marketplace but also open up a world of possibilities for his future. Goldin's solemn, earnest tale is a far cry from a holiday associated with boisterous behavior; readers would probably begin squirming after a few pages if it weren't for Zollars's (Inside the Slidy Diner) acrylic and collage illustrations. The generously scaled characters, with their huge heads and thoughtful, dark eyes, act like magnets for children's attention, while the moody palette and dreamy, textured settings evoke a place and time when a strong will (and a little heavenly intervention) could truly work wonders. Ages 5–8. (Nov.)