A celebration of Purim with an appropriate Persian flavor.
Raya is happily baking cookies for Purim with her grandmother, Maman joon. They are called koloocheh and are from the family’s Persian Jewish heritage. Unfortunately, Raya is too young to be in the school play, in which her older brother will play Mordecai. Maman joon pauses cooking in order to adjust his costume and beard. She can do even more for her granddaughter, though. In a trunk in her bedroom is a wide assortment of sparkly jewelry and brightly colored scarves—just perfect for a little girl who wants to pretend to be Esther. Maman joon has saved them from the time that she lived in Hamadan, a city in Iran. Together, the costumed girl and her grandmother share their baked treats with the neighbors, and Raya explains that she is a “Persian princess” just as Esther was. Even better, Raya decides to invite everyone to the house, where she will perform the story of Purim. It is a joyous time, indeed. Goldin’s sweet story offers readers a celebration of Purim that is both familiar and different to that observed by Ashkenazic Jewry and more commonly seen in U.S. children’s books but that can be enjoyed by all. Doneva’s delicate cartoon illustrations are suitably colorful and depict a neighborhood of various ethnicities.
Family traditions and intergenerational love are strong and endearing in this fresh look at Purim. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)