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. (Picture books/religion. 5-7)