Yentl’s Judaic Treasures is a store for Judaica — with a twist. When Holden sets out to find the perfect yarmulke for his bar mitzvah, he is led through a journey of Jewish history. Holden is nervous about his upcoming bar mitzvah as he enters the store and his mother explains to Yentl that they are looking for the perfect yarmulke for the occasion. Yentl notes the trepidation in Holden’s face and takes out a set of yarmulkes for him to try on. As Holden tries on each one, he is transported in his mind to another time in Jewish history— Noah’s Ark, Egypt, the original Hannukah, the Holocaust, and finally to the Israel of today. The journey to Israel helps him find his place in the Jewish world and the confidence to move forward with his bar mitzvah. The story is educational and intriguing, providing a brief non-intimidating survey of Jewish history while entertaining readers with time travel and acknowledging the realistic fear of performing at one’s bar mitzvah.
Peleg’s illustrations are colorful and powerful. Each page is bathed in color, and the scenes depicted enhance the storyline. The reader is drawn into each period in history, whether he or she is familiar with the stories in advance or not. Recommended for ages 8 – 13.