Barnyard Purim

  • Interest Level: Kindergarten - Grade 3
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

Purim is a topsy-turvy time, even on the farm. The animals decide to stage a Purim play, and Chicken assigns the parts. Blushing Duck is Queen Esther, Silly Horse is Ahashuerus, and Bearded Goat is Mordechai. But when they try to transform Shy Little Sheep into mean-looking Haman, something unexpected happens.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Kindergarten - Grade 3
Reading Level Grade 2
Genre Picture Books
Copyright 2012
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Kar-Ben Publishing ®
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2012-01-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV033020, JUV017090
Dewey [E]
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 9.25 x 11
ATOS Reading Level 2.5
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 149751
Accelerated Reader® Points 0.5
Features Reviewed


Jewish Book World

“When Farmer Max goes off to see a Purim play, the resourceful animals he has left behind decide to put on their own Purim play. The biggest of them all, Horse, seems a natural choice for the role of the King. Goat’s beard makes him a shoo-in for Mordecai, and sweet, bashful Duck is the perfect Esther. Sheep, though, isn’t at all comfortable playing the evil Haman; why do the cows keep mooing so meanly at him? Maybe a costume will make it easier to pretend. Just as Sheep is getting into a properly villainous fox costume, a real fox appears in the barnyard and at first no one knows who’s who. It takes a very brave ‘Queen Esther’ and the combined efforts of all the farm animals to save the day and banish the actual fox. Bravo! What a show! Energetic and charmingly zany illustrations showcase each distinct animal personality. The book is probably a better choice for children already familiar with Purim; the actual Purim story, along with its moral and ethical dilemmas, takes a backseat to the zany commotion here. But on its own merits, the tale will probably have young readers quacking up.’ Recommendedfor ages 5-9.” —Jewish Book World

Jewish Journal

“Farmer Max is heading off to a Purim play and the animals on the farm are a wee bit jealous, so they decide to re-enact one themselves. Chicken decides to direct and assign parts to the other animals. Horse will play King Ahashuerus, Duck will be Queen Esther, Goat will be Mordechai, Sheep will be Haman, Geese will be the audience, and the Cows will be the noisemakers. As they prepare for their parts, Sheep begins to cry. He doesn’t want, or know how, to be mean. So the other animals decide he will need a special costume to make him look scary. In the meantime, the other animals start rehearsing their parts.

As they are doing this, a sly and sneaky fox slips into the barnyard and pretends to be part of the show. The other animals assume it is Sheep dressed in costume, until he opens his mouth and displays his sharp teeth to Duck and reaches out to eat him. At this exact moment, Sheep (dressed up as a fox) walks out and says, ‘Hey, this is my part!’ Duck stands her ground like Queen Esther and intimidates the real fox into leaving. Queen Esther saves the day and all the farm animals.

This adorable book, perfect for ages five and up, will capture children’s imaginations. The vibrant and brightly illustrated pictures by this local artist make the farm animals come to life. It is a unique and fun spin on an age-old tale.” —Jewish Journal

AJL Newsletter

“Purim is a time for pretending—a time for little girls to dress up as courageous queens and for little boys to sprout fake beards and masquerade as Mordecai or Haman. Not wanting to miss out on the fun, Farmer Max’s livestock decide to stage their own Purim play. Chicken channels Cecile B. DeMille and takes charge as the play’s director, assigning roles to her four-footed or feathered thespians and coaching her amateurish players as to their lines and to the storyline itself. The cast includes Duck as Queen Esther, Goat as Mordecai, Horse as King Ahashuerus, Sheep as Haman, the Cows as noisemakers, and the Geese as the audience. Timid Sheep has trouble immersing himself into the villain’s role and cries every time the Cows moo when Haman’s name comes up. Goat suggests Sheep put on an old wolf costume so as to get into character and tap into his evil side. Meanwhile, Fox slinks into the barnyard looking for his next meal. Reminiscent of a Shakespearean comedy where identities become confused, everyone thinks Fox is Sheep in disguise. All the animals remain in character, except for Fox, who stays true to his own character. When Fox lunges for Duck, the real acting begins and Terwilliger’s barnyard farce becomes a real-life drama. Newman’s full-bleed spreads of the wide-eyed animals open up like miniature stages before the young readers’ eyes and fully add to the sense of a play unfolding. A charming and light-hearted Purim story from the author of Bubbe Isabella and the Sukkot Cake.”—Association of Jewish Libraries

Kirkus Reviews

“The loud, chaotic celebration of Purim and its companion story is recreated in a farm-animal play that results in a surprising development.

After Farmer Max leaves to attend a Purim play, the animals decide to stage their own version. Chicken offers to direct, orchestrating Horse as the King Ahashuerus, Duck as the blushing Queen Esther, bearded Goat as Mordecai, cows as the mooing noisemakers and geese as the audience. Casting a somewhat sensitive Sheep as the evil Haman requires some explanation from Chicken as she retells the holiday’s story through her patient direction. ‘They aren’t mooing at YOU…They’re mooing at evil Haman.’ Still fretting over her role, Sheep retreats off stage to dress in, yes, her wolf’s costume, while a new character, Fox, suddenly appears on the scene with real evil intentions. Confusion quickly moves to realization, with Duck’s bravado leading a flurry of noisy animal antics to scare the fox away before Farmer Max returns with a basket of hamantaschen. Gouache cartoons of wide-eyed, long-lashed characters in muted browns, blacks and tans add enough charm to the required pathos of the text’s circumvented telling for this menagerie’s megillah.

Enjoyable fare for youngsters who already have a concept of the holiday." —Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly

“When Farmer Max bids his barnyard animals goodnight as he heads off to a Purim play, the animals gets moving on a plan: they’ll put on their own Purim play. Horse won’t say nay to his role as King Ahashuerus, and sheep is set to play bad Haman, until another animal sneaks into the barnyard, and Esther doesn’t duck an opportunity for barnyard heroism. Youngest readers who don’t know the story may be slightly confused, but those familiar with the holiday tale will enjoy its barnyard reimagining. The story by Terwilliger (Bubbe Isabella and the Sukkot Cake) economically endows its characters with distinctive personalities. Johansen Newman renders a Purim-lively setting crowded with animals in her full-bleed spreads.”—Publishers Weekly