Monday, October 22, 2012

Book Review - The Vanishing Gourds


The Vanishing Gourds: A Sukkot Mystery

By: Susan Axe-Bronk
Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
Publication Date: August 2012
ISBN: 978-0761375036
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler

It was autumn and Sara smiled and threw her arms up in the air as she jumped in a pile of multi-colored leaves. The squirrels loved the season too as they hurriedly gathered acorns and scampered up a nearby tree to hide them in a hole. Sara's mother asked if she wanted to go to the farm for it was a special time of year and they needed to gather up some gourds to "decorate the sukkah." Sara just loved everything about Sukkot, her favorite holiday. She slung her little tool kit over her shoulder when it was time to help her father as they built the sukkah and she was quick to stir up the pumpkin pie mix in the kitchen when it was time to go back.

No doubt, Sara's favorite thing to do was help to "decorate the sukkah with colorful gourds they bought each year." Her brother, Avi, would proudly carry the box of Sukkot decorations when it was time to decorate and Sara would carry the gourds. Even their orange kitty cat loved to join in the fun, but first they must select the new gourds at the farm. The petting zoo was fun, but not quite as much fun as taking a look at the "many colors and shapes and sizes" of those gourds. Sara and her mother selected seven, including one that was S-shaped. At home Avi hoisted her on his shoulders to hang them. Oooh, oooh! The sukkah roof was beautiful, but all of a sudden the gourds began to disappear one by one. What possibly could be happening to them?

This is a charming, simple Sukkot mystery that young children will love to "solve." Even the youngest of children can enjoy decorating the sukkah and Sara's infectious excitement over her part will encourage other little ones to help and take delight in the process. Of course when her special gourds start to disappear, your young reader is sure to know just where they are going. The delightful twist at the end gives this story just the right amount of zing to bring a smile to anyone's face. The colorful, animated artwork elicits the special nature of Sukkot. This little mystery about vanishing gourds is the perfect way to introduce young children to the sukkah and Sukkot!

Quill says: This simple mystery surrounding the gourds that are vanishing from the sukkah has the perfect amount of allure that will generate excitement for the holiday for your little one!