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THE STORY OF ESTHER by Eric A. Kimmel

THE STORY OF ESTHER

A Purim Tale

By Eric A. Kimmel (Adaptor) , Jill Weber (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2223-4
Publisher: Holiday House

The Purim story contains elements of an intriguing mass-murder plot complete with a benevolent king, a brave and beautiful queen, her wise uncle and a villainous prime minister. Kimmel’s well-paced, even narration recounts the familiar story of how the young, Jewish queen of the Persians thwarts Haman’s plan to commit genocide against the Hebrews. Unfortunately, his retelling is diminished by naive-style paintings that effectively capture the bold, bright colors of flowing robes and palace riches but fall short of creating distinguishable characters. King Ahasuerus looks much like Haman, with their equally Semitic-looking bearded faces offering little to distinguish the prime minister’s villainy. Esther, noted in the story for her beauty, is drawn with facial features similar to—and as unremarkable as—the other women in the court. Even children familiar with the story will have difficulty identifying characters and scenes as they read these pictures. Highly artistic versions exist; Esther’s Story, by Diane Wolkstein and illustrated by Juan Wijngaard (1996), Queen Esther the Morning Star, by Mordicai Gerstein (2000) and The Story of Queen Esther, by Jenny Koralek and illustrated by Grizelda Holderness (2009) all provide better and more cohesive portrayals. (Picture book/religion. 5-8)