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LETTER ON THE WIND by Sarah Marwil Lamstein Kirkus Star


A Chanukah Tale

by Sarah Marwil Lamstein & illustrated by Neil Waldman

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-932425-74-1
Publisher: Boyds Mills

When a small village has a meager harvest with not enough olives for oil to light the Chanukah menorahs, Hayim, the poorest, sends an appealing letter to the Almighty so the holiday may still be traditionally celebrated. A strong wind brings the letter to the hands of the wealthy merchant, Ger Yehudah. Believing in his duty to help the poor, the merchant sends the villagers vats of the best oil along with baskets of fruit, flour, sugar and a glittering silver menorah bearing his name. But many think Hayim is a thief and refuse to use the generous supplies that Hayim himself faithfully trusts are a “gift from the Almighty.” A new letter questioning the situation prompts Ger Yehudah to visit the village to assure everyone of the Almighty’s request to provide help, thus restoring credence in Hayim’s conviction of the Almighty’s influence on all their lives. The spiritual message in the romantic text is wonderfully portrayed with Waldman’s full double-paged spreads done in mellifluous watercolors and micron pen. Background scenes are superimposed with detailed close-ups of the story’s characters, action and themes. More than a holiday folktale, this one brings out the significance of graceful benevolence and humble appreciation. (Picture book. 5-8)