August 7, 2012
When Farmer Max goes off to see a Purim play, the resourceful animals he has left behind decide to put on their own Purim play. The biggest of them all, Horse, seems a natural choice for the role of the King. Goat’s beard makes him a shoo-in for Mordecai, and sweet, bashful Duck is the perfect Esther. Sheep, though, isn’t at all comfortable playing the evil Haman; why do the cows keep mooing so meanly at him? Maybe a costume will make it easier to pretend. Just as Sheep is getting into a properly villainous fox costume, a real fox appears in the barnyard and at first no one knows who’s who. It takes a very brave “Queen Esther” and the combined efforts of all the farm animals to save the day and banish the actual fox. Bravo! What a show! Energetic and charmingly zany illustrations showcase each distinct animal personality. The book is probably a better choice for children already familiar with Purim; the actual Purim story, along with its moral and ethical dilemmas, takes a backseat to the zany commotion here. But on its own merits, the tale will probably have young readers “quacking up.” Recommendedfor ages 5 – 9.