The Sto­ry of Esther: A Purim Tale

Eric A. Kim­mel; Jill Weber, illus.
  • Review
By – September 1, 2011

This famil­iar retelling of the Purim sto­ry fea­tures the usu­al cast of char­ac­ters. Aha­suerus, the clue­less king, who is both cru­el and benev­o­lent, Haman, the king’s evil and pow­er-hun­gry chief min­is­ter who tricks the king into agree­ing to destroy the Jews, Morde­cai, the devout Jew, who invites Haman’s wrath by refus­ing to acknowl­edge him as a liv­ing god, and the hero­ine of the sto­ry, Mordecai’s niece, Hadas­sah, known as Esther in Per­sian. Esther is so beau­ti­ful that she needs no kohl around her eyes or cinnabar on her lips. As soon as the king sees her, he choos­es her for his queen. But Esther is most admired — and remem­bered — for her brav­ery. She risks her life when she dares to reveal Haman’s plot to the king, and on the appoint­ed date of the Jews’ planned destruc­tion, the 13th day of the month of Adar, Haman is van­quished instead. Jill Weber’s vibrant art includes many his­tor­i­cal Per­sian ref­er­ences and motifs — from pome­gran­ates to pea­cocks to pais­ley pat­terns — as well as Moor­ish arch­es and minarets, mak­ing it easy to imag­ine the ancient cap­i­tal city of Shushan. But do not expect to see Haman wear­ing a three-cor­nered hat — appar­ent­ly that is just a myth. For ages 4 – 8.

Eric Kim­mel Reads The Sto­ry of Esther”

Eric Reads The Sto­ry of Esther.” from Eric Kim­mel on Vimeo.

Read­ing Guide

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.

Discussion Questions