Editorial Review

Jewish Journal

Cover: The Vanishing Gourds: A Sukkot Mystery

“Sukkot is a time of joyous celebration, and a time to be grateful for the abundant crops that nourish us. Just as we must feed our bodies, these delightful new childrens’ stories will nurture our children’s minds and imaginations as they learn the wonders of this important Jewish holiday and its traditions.

Sara is excited to celebrate Sukkot with her family. One of her favorite things to do is to decorate the sukkah with colorful gourds that she buys from a nearby farm. Sara chooses seven bright ones in a variety of shapes and sizes. Her favorite one is in an S-shape — just like the first letter of her name.

When she returns home, she and her brother Avi immediately hang the gourds from the sukkah roof. When they enter the sukkah several hours later to eat dinner, Sara notices that one of the gourds is broken apart and laying on the floor. During dinner they hear a rustling above them, and two more gourds fall to the ground. After dinner, the youths move their sleeping bags inside the sukkah to sleep for the night, but are awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of “munch, scrunch, crunch,” and notice two more gourds on the ground, and a squirrel eating them.

Sara yells for the squirrel to stop and it runs up a tree. When she finally falls back to sleep, she dreams that she chases the squirrel up the tree and demands the gourds back. It apologizes for eating the gourds, but says it was hungry and will bring new ones next year.

When Sara awakens the next morning, she remembers her dream and laughs at the thought of the squirrels bringing her gourds next year. Then she remembers that the squirrels said they were hungry, so she runs into the house to grab a handful of nuts to place on the picnic table in the sukkah.

A year later, Sara is raking the leaves around where the sukkah will be built, and she notices that seven gourds are growing, even an S-shaped one. She realizes that the gourds had sprouted from the seeds left behind from the squirrels the year before. The squirrels had brought her gourds for the sukkah, just as they had promised!

This amusing tale will tickle children’s imaginations and keep young readers engaged and entertained with its cheerful illustrations.” —The Jewish Journal

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