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GITTEL'S HANDS by Erica Silverman


by Erica Silverman, illustrated by Deborah Nourse Lattimore

Age Range: 7 & up

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-8167-3798-3

 Elijah makes a miraculous appearance in this Passover tale of a boastful father and his wise and compassionate daughter, Gittel. To pay a debt, Yakov makes exaggerated guarantees of Gittel's handiwork and loses his means for earning a living. Gittel's kindness toward a trapped dove, a starving cat, and a shivering beggar earn the intervention of the prophet Elijah, who provides her with the tools and skill to make exquisite silver goods for the Passover seder, ensuring a fine livelihood for her and her chastened father. Silverman (Fixing the Crack of Dawn, 1994, etc.) renders Gittel's story in the manner of a folktale, burnished with motifs from the Rumpelstiltskin story. Lattimore, taking her cue from Chagall, creates scenes alight with the rhythms and colors of stained glass, where pink doves and green cats mingle with the floating figures and dancing houses of a snowbound shtetl. Readers familiar with Passover traditions will love the story most; others will find the glossary a useful page for learning more. (Picture book/folklore. 7+)