cover image A Box of Candles

A Box of Candles

Laurie A. Jacobs, , illus. by Shelly Schonebaum Ephraim. . Boyds Mills, $17.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-1-59078-169-2

Faith, family and friends all create their own place in young Ruthie's heart throughout an eventful year in this picture book about growth and tradition. On her seventh birthday Ruthie is honored to receive a silver candlestick and a box of candles—one for each Shabbat and holiday of the year—from her Grandma Gussie. The year of celebrations is off to a rocky start, however, when Ruthie learns she'll have to start sharing Grandma with Mr. Adler—an old friend who has begun courting her. Readers learn the basics of each season on the Jewish calendar as Ruthie experiences them (i.e., "February-March/Adar" is the time for Purim), and also see Ruthie's heart soften toward Mr. Adler. The calendar provides the framework for a successful dovetailing of themes. Ephraim's serviceable watercolors get all the details right, but sometimes fail to capture the emotion of the text. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)