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.
Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale
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.
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