Cover image for Raisel's riddle
Title:
Raisel's riddle
Author:
Silverman, Erica.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Summary:
A Jewish version of the Cinderella story, in which a poor but educated young women captivates her "Prince Charming" a rabbi's son, at a Purim ball.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
AD 270 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.3 0.5 47308.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.5 2 Quiz: 20512.
Genre:
Added Author:
Added Uniform Title:
Cinderella. English.
ISBN:
9780374361686
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PZ8.S3457 RAI 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Orchard Park Library PZ8.S3457 RAI 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Julia Boyer Reinstein Library PZ8.S3457 RAI 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
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On Order

Summary

Summary

A Jewish Cinderella What's more precious than rubies, more lasting than gold? Raisel knows. She learned it from her grandfather, a poor scholar who taught her. When he dies, Raisel finds work in the home of a rabbi. His jealous cook makes Raisel toil from sunup to sundown. And as the Jewish holiday of Purim approaches, Raisel works even harder. The rabbi's son presides over the Purim dinner, and Raisel listens closely when he responds to riddles posed by his guests. Is it possible that this young man can answer Raisel's riddle? Erica Silverman's lively retelling of the Cinderella story features a heroine for whom knowledge is as essential to happiness as love. In striking paintings, Susan Gaber captures all her beauty, external and internal.


Author Notes

Erica Silverman is a children's author who has loved books since she was a child. She said that books inspired her daydreams and fantasies. She discovered the magic of libraries before she could read. Her grandmother took her to the 23rd Street branch of the New York Public Library in Manhattan. This is where she started appreciating the experience of picking out books to take home. Her love for reading lead her to writing. It was her grandmother who told her stories that fed her imagination. She drew on these memories when she wrote Gittel's Hands, Raisel's Riddle, When the Chickens Went on Strike and Sholom's Treasure.

For fourteen years she taught English as a Second Language to adult immigrants believing the acquisition of language is empowering. Her love of reading and writing has led her to yet another career. She earned her Masters in Library and Information Science and has become a librarian. She has always spent a great deal of time in libraries, both to research my books and to find books to read for pleasure. One of her favorites was an East European folk tale called 'The Turnip.' Many years later, the memory of this book inspired her to write Big Pumpkin which made The New York Times Best Seller List in 2013.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-9. A lovely re-imagining of the Cinderella story, with a fine twist. Raisel lives in a tiny village in Poland with her grandfather, a poor scholar. When Zaydeh dies, Raisel goes to town to seek work and finds it in the kitchen of a famed rabbi. But the cook mistreats her and keeps her from the Purim party. That night, when Raisel gives her supper to an old woman, the beggar grants her three wishes. Raisel, who then goes to the Purim party costumed as Queen Esther and enchants the rabbi's son with her riddle, is wise enough to keep one wish back and uses it for cleaning the kitchen when she returns at midnight. The next day the rabbi's son searches for her, and Raisel, locked in the pantry, calls out her riddle: "What's more precious than rubies, more lasting than gold? / What can never be traded, stolen, or sold? / What comes with great effort and takes time, but then--/ Once yours, will serve you again and again?" The rabbi's son knows the answer, which is "learning," and so they "lived and learned happily ever after." The illustrations in velvety, muted colors make use of strong geometric shapes and varying perspectives: we see Raisel and her Zaydeh through a window studying together; the nasty cook looming over Raisel in the rabbi's kitchen; and dramatic close-ups of Raisel and the beggar woman and a gorgeous one of Raisel dressed as Queen Esther with the rabbi's son. This universal story fits into its Jewish milieu as neatly as a key in a lock. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido


Publisher's Weekly Review

"Starring a Jewish orphan in a long-ago Polish village, this colorful, expertly structured variation on Cinderella offers an independent-minded heroine and a tie-in to Purim that grounds the story without limiting its appeal," wrote PW in a starred review. Ages 5-8. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-In this Jewish holiday variant of the Cinderella story, Raisel, the granddaughter of a learned scholar, uses her wits to win the rabbi's son. After Raisel's grandfather dies, the orphaned girl moves from her Polish village to a large city and goes to work in the kitchen of a rabbi. On the night of the Purim ball, she feeds an old woman who gives her three wishes for her kindness, thus allowing Raisel to attend the ball and tell the rabbi's son a riddle that wins his heart. Using elements from the classic tale and ideas from the Talmud, Silverman crafts a story that teaches the importance of learning while retaining the romance of the fairy tale. The quotes from the Talmud blend in well with the rest of the narration and the themes reappear in the art. Gaber's pictures are uneven, with Raisel looking different from page to page, but at their best, the composition is lovely and the realistic paintings with their smears of bright colors beautifully reflect the emotions of the text. The artist plays with point of view, setting her illustrations at all different angles and distances, some of which are more effective than others. However, as a whole, the book works, and while not a necessary purchase, it will be a welcome addition where more folklore with a Jewish focus is needed.-Amy Lilien, Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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