Editorial Review

AJL Newsletter

Cover: Gabriel's Horn

“Kimmel first adapted I.L. Peretz’s story ‘Seven Years’ for his collection Days
of Awe: Stories for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
(Viking Press, 1991). Here is
another version of the story in picture book format with a modern boy as the main
character and a horn instead of a samovar. As Gabriel’s family is preparing for
Rosh Hashanah, a US Army soldier appears at their door. He asks them to keep his
grandfather’s French horn safe for him while he serves overseas. While the family
owns an antique shop, Gabriel’s mom is hesitant to take on the responsibility of storing the instrument. Gabriel convinces her after the soldier promises that the horn will bring them good luck. He then vanishes before they can ask him his name. The horn is black and tarnished and no matter how hard she tries, Gabriel’s mother is unable to polish it. But, when Gabriel gives tzedakah (charity) to two girls collecting for the poor, a streak of polished brass shines on the bell of the horn. As time passes, good luck and fortune follow the family and they, in turn, perform mitzvot (good deeds): they help to build a new playground in their neighborhood, they buy furniture for a new immigrant family, and they donate to the local food pantry. And with each good deed, the horn’s tarnish slowly disappears. After seven years, the soldier returns and says: ‘Do you know how old this horn is? It’s older than the world. In all the time this horn existed, no one ever used its blessing better than your family. That old horn never shined brighter than it does now. You’ve earned the right to keep it.’ The soldier again vanishes but not before Gabriel figures out who he really is―the prophet Elijah (the name on the soldier’s uniform―—Tishbi—gives astute readers a clue)! The textured, multi-dimensional illustrations, with vibrant reds and purples, beautifully depict a multi-cultural, contemporary urban setting. ‘The Samovar’ in Days of Awe still makes for a nice read-aloud but this illustrated edition will introduce the timeless tale to a new audience. The Rosh Hashanah tie-in will make it a welcome addition to the holiday bookshelf but the story can be enjoyed all year long to discuss the Jewish value of tzedakah.”—AJL

Products Reviewed

Title  
Gabriel's Horn
  • Available in limited formats
  • Soon! Spring 2021
  • New! Fall 2020
  • New! Spring 2020

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