In this gaily illustrated and humorous story, Cluck the Hen hopes to play the part of Queen Esther in the animals’ annual Purim play. But, as usual, the role goes to Quack the Duck. Though Cluck is disappointed, she enthusiastically practices her part — making the loudest possible clucks whenever the name of the evil Haman is mentioned. But on the afternoon before Purim, Quack disappears. Cluck discovers the footprints of Fox near the pond and follows them into the woods. In a clearing, she sees Fox lighting a fire under a big pot — and Quack tied to a tree. Cluck has never been more terrified, but must act fast to save Quack from becoming duck soup. Thinking of Queen Esther, who risked her own life to save the Jews of Persia from Haman, Cluck finds the courage she needs. She hurls herself at Fox, clucking and pecking at him until he runs away. Quack quacks out the story of Cluck’s brave rescue to the rest of the animals, and then suggests that Cluck should play Queen Esther. All of the rollicking and expressive scenes are fitting for this merry Purim story, a day of joy and celebration.
Recommended for ages 3 – 6.
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.