From School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-A nice retelling of a familiar tale of kindness and community. Shollar bases her picture book on a Midrash from the Yalkut Shimoni. Avraham and Esther are poor but pious, struggling to put food on the table for their young sons. When a mysterious old man gives Avraham a choice between the blessing of six years of wealth now, or six years of wealth in old age, the man takes the question to his wife. Esther, as wise as her namesake, chooses to take the wealth immediately, and begins a thread of kindness and charity, which reaches throughout their community. They buy shoes for a barefoot child, purchase a chuppah for a bride's wedding day, and give money to help a mother afford her son's bar mitzvah. At the end of the six years, the old man returns to reclaim the treasure, but of course the riches remain with Avraham's family, and "the thread of kindness stretches on to this very day." Mekibel's watercolors lend a dreamy cast to the illustrations, as if they are memories of long ago. A solid addition to Jewish folklore collections.-Martha Link, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 2-4, younger for reading aloud. Avraham, a poor farmer from Constantinople, worries that his wife and sons do not have enough money for food and clothing. One day, while toiling in his fields, he meets an old man who offers him six years of wealth, to be dispersed immediately or at the end of his life. Avraham requests the money right away, and that very day his sons uncover a large chest of gold. His wife, Esther, considers the money a "thread of kindness" and convinces her husband to use their wealth to help others. In the end, the old man allows the family to keep the money because their acts of kindness and generosity helped so many. Shollar has adapted this tale from the Midrash, a collection of early Jewish commentaries offering interpretations of Biblical text. The story is simply told, although the liberal use of Hebrew terms (Hashem
for God; abba
for father and mother) will make the glossary, which precedes the story, a necessity for some readers. Mekibel's soft, watercolor illustrations exude an Old World feel suited to the setting and tone of the text. A story that's heavy on message without ever becoming preachy, the book will be a welcome addition to religion collections. Kay WeismanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved