Cakes and Mir­a­cles: A Purim Tale

Bar­bara Dia­mond Goldin; Jaime Zol­lars, illus.
  • Review
By – October 10, 2011

Cakes and Mir­a­cles: A Purim Tale was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished by Viking Press, in 1991, with illus­tra­tions by Eri­ka Weihs, and has been my favorite Purim sto­ry for years. I have read it to chil­dren of all ages and it nev­er fails to cap­ti­vate them. The sto­ry is about a blind boy named Her­shel, who cre­ates things with mud. At Purim, he wants to help his moth­er cre­ate cook­ies to sell in the mar­ket place. But because of his blind­ness, his moth­er gives him menial chores instead. In the end he sur­pris­es her by cre­at­ing a vari­ety of cook­ies which all sell. Since the book has been out of print for a num­ber of years, I was thrilled to dis­cov­er that it was being reis­sued. This new edi­tion, illus­trat­ed by Jaime Zol­lars, is still a won­der­ful sto­ry, although I miss some of the text, which has been short­ened. The illus­tra­tions are dark­er than the ones in the orig­i­nal. The pic­tures are larg­er, most cov­er­ing a twopage spread, and are bet­ter for show­ing to a large group. The moth­er in the sto­ry seems more gen­tle with her son, but I think in the orig­i­nal she was more real­is­tic. The old­er edi­tion end­ed with a song, which could always elic­it a chuck­le from my audi­ence. The new book still ends on a pos­i­tive note, but doesn’t seem to have the punch it had. I still rec­om­mend this book for schools, syn­a­gogues and per­son­al libraries. It will be enjoyed by fam­i­lies and chil­dren ages sev­en and up.

Read­ing Guide

» Down­load the Cakes and Mir­a­cles Read­ing Guide from PJ Library

Diane Levin Rauschw­erg­er is librar­i­an for Con­gre­ga­tion Beth Am, Los Altos Hills, CA, and has worked as a children’s librar­i­an for the Sun­ny­vale Pub­lic Library. She is the author of a series of children’s pic­ture books, includ­ing Dinosaur on Hanukkah, Dinosaur on Passover, and Dinosaur on Shab­bat, pub­lished by Kar-Ben Publishing.

Discussion Questions