cover image The Peddler's Gift

The Peddler's Gift

Maxine Rose Schur, Maxine Rose Shcur. Dial Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1978-1

The shtetl is also the setting for this atmospheric tale, which goes beyond Hanukkah in its poignantly handled themes about forgiveness. Narrator Leibush can't resist the temptation to pocket a dreidel that has fallen from the bags of a bumbling peddler, dubbed Shnook for his ineptitude. The lessons here are predictable (a repentant Leibush learns that the so-called simpleton is wise indeed), but Schur's (Sacred Shadows) colorful delivery and scene-setting give her message a fresh impact. Likewise, Root's (Hugh Can Do) watercolors make the quaintness of the shtetl secondary to the vulnerability of the characters. Ages 5-9. (Oct.)