Lit­tle Red Ruthie: A Hanukkah Tale

Glo­ria Koster; Sue East­land, illus.

  • Review
By – August 11, 2017

Lit­tle Red Ruthie is head­ed through the for­est to her Bubbe Basha’s for the first night of Hanukkah when, sud­den­ly, a hun­gry wolf appears and threat­ens to eat her up. Though ter­ri­bly fright­ened, Ruthie wills her­self to be as brave as the hero­ic Mac­cabees, and tells the wolf that she is too skin­ny to make a good meal. To her relief, the wolf agrees to eat her after she has fat­tened up on latkes. Bubbe Basha is not at home when Ruthie arrives, so she gets busy mak­ing the latkes all by her­self. But the wolf is get­ting impa­tient to eat — either latkes or Ruthie. This time Ruthie dis­tracts him — while she con­tin­ues to fry the latkes — by telling him why oil is impor­tant to the sto­ry of Hanukkah. Many plate­fuls of pan­cakes lat­er, the wolf is so full he can bare­ly make his way back to the for­est. When Bubbe Basha comes home, she and Ruthie light the first Hanukkah can­dle and sit down to din­ner, per­haps leav­ing some to won­der about Ruthie’s mom, home alone. Ruthie’s cheery red coat and boots pop against the icy blue and snowy white of the for­est scenes, and the big hairy wolf, with sharp teeth and yel­low eyes, though prop­er­ly men­ac­ing, is no match for lit­tle Ruthie. A recipe for pota­to latkes is included.

Susan Kan­tor was a senior writer/​editor for Girl Scouts of the USA, a chil­dren’s book edi­tor, and a past judge for the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Awards in the illus­trat­ed children’s book cat­e­go­ry. She is a writer and a docent at the Rubin Muse­um in New York City, where she leads pub­lic and pri­vate tours.

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