cover image Letter on the Wind: A Chanukah Tale

Letter on the Wind: A Chanukah Tale

Sarah Marwil Lamstein, , illus. by Neil Waldman. . Boyds Mills, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-932425-74-1

Lamstein (Annie’s Shabbat ) polishes up timeless motifs about the mysterious ways of God in this dexterous retelling of a folktale from the Middle East. After a terrible drought, the poorest man in the village relies on his faith to bring everyone enough oil to light their menorahs for all the nights of Hanukkah: he writes his request and mails the letter to the Almighty “on the wind.” Using the frames and panels characteristic of his compositions, Waldman (The Snowflake ) gracefully evokes deserts, weathered Middle Eastern villages hugging barren mountainsides, and trees bending under the weight of thick, curving clouds. He also throws in anthropomorphized cottages with face-like features that move from dejected to glad expressions as the story concludes, injecting a discordant note into settings that otherwise heighten the humanity and organic spirituality of the tale. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)