THE VANISHING GOURDS by Susan  Axe-Bronk

THE VANISHING GOURDS

A Sukkot Mystery
by , illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 5

KIRKUS REVIEW

The Jewish fall harvest festival celebrated in a temporary hut known as a sukkah is the focus of this slight story about sharing.

Having carefully selected several gourds to hang from the sukkah roof as decorations, Sara and Avi are dismayed when the hard-shelled vegetables begin to fall, split open and are ravaged by the squirrels in their yard. Sara’s anger inspires a dream she has that night in which the offending squirrel emerges to apologize and promises to bring new gourds the following year. Once awake, Sara imagines squirrels shopping for gourds at the local market and acknowledges their hunger with a pile of nuts carefully placed on the sukkah table. As the holiday ends, Sara makes sure the squirrels are well-fed throughout the year. When Sukkot rolls around again, Sara begins to clean up the patch of grass for the sukkah and is surprised to find a number of gourds growing there, sprouted from the seeds left by the squirrels the previous year. This contrivance—gourd vines are hard to miss, and does this family never mow?—fatally weakens the conclusion, with its implicit lesson of sharing. A more creative and endearing version of this theme can be found in Jamie Korngold’s Sadie’s Sukkah Breakfast (2011). Acrylic and graphite sketches in earthy tones add mild amusement to Sara’s infuriating dilemma, though they do nothing to mitigate the implausibility of Sara's discovery.

Even given the paucity of books on Sukkot, this is one to skip. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7613-7503-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Kar-Ben
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2012




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