In this new addition to the Ruby Celebrates series, charming young Ruby is now preparing for the holiday of Purim. She and her grandmother bake tray after tray of hamantaschen, varying the fillings and deciding which flavors to give each of their friends and family members. Her younger brother, Benny, shakes his grogger loudly and incessantly as he watches them bake. Suddenly Ruby realizes that her precious ring, a gift from Bubbe, is no longer on her hand. The family helps her search, and they look everywhere; but as the evening approaches, they still haven’t found it. Eventually, the time comes to put on costumes and go to synagogue for the reading of the Megillah. Benny continues to shake his grogger until finally he shakes it so hard that it breaks open, Ruby’s ring emerging safe and sound.
All the ingredients for a lively Purim celebration can be found in the pages of the story: hamantaschen, costumes, groggers, and Megillah reading each have a place. Complete with colorful, Purim-inspired art, The Purim Panic also teaches lessons, such as having patience for a younger sibling, cooperating with family, sustaining intergenerational relationships, and apologizing for one’s temper. The book concludes with background information about Purim and instructions for making a grogger like Benny’s.
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.