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Esther’s Gragger: A Toyshop Tale of Purim
“Esther’s Gragger: A Toyshop Tale of Purim” — details, sample pages, more
Esther‘s Gragger: A Toyshop Tale of Purim
Esther‘s Gragger: A Toyshop Tale of Purim
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Author(s): 
Subjects(s): 
Children’s Books
Judaism

Price:  $16.95

ISBN:  978-1-937786-75-5
Book Size:  8" × 10"
# of Pages:  40
Language:  English



Description of “Esther’s Gragger”

Young Esther is given a special gragger (a noisemaker) to celebrate the fun, and sometimes raucous, Jewish festival of Purim. An older boy bullies her to get it for himself, but Esther reacts with great courage and intelligence, her actions reflecting the biblical story of Queen Esther and Haman on which Purim is based. Add a toyshop, a children’s parade, and a lively cast of characters, and there is fun, and some learning, for all.

AWARDS

  • Gold Medal in the “Children’s Fiction” category of the 2020 Midwest Book Awards
  • Silver Medal in the “Children’s Picture Books” category of the 2020 Midwest Book Awards
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Details on “Esther’s Gragger”

Young Esther is given a special gragger (a noisemaker) to celebrate the fun, and sometimes raucous, Jewish festival of Purim. An older boy bullies her to get it for himself, but Esther reacts with great courage and intelligence, her actions reflecting the biblical story on which Purim is based. The lively cast of characters quibble and carouse in a bygone world of warmth, surprise, and generosity. There is even a parade for children only. The appendix helps readers understand the history of Purim, how it is celebrated today, what a “gragger” is, and how to make a simple noisemaker.

Following the award-winning The Dreidel that Wouldn’t Spin, author Martha Seif Simpson and illustrator D. Yael Bernhard have again created a new toyshop tale of playful language and images that hint at ancient roots and hidden meanings, which are just waiting for young readers to find. This is a tale ideal for reading aloud for fun, but also for learning.

AWARDS

  • Gold Medal in the “Children’s Fiction” category of the 2020 Midwest Book Awards
  • Silver Medal in the “Children’s Picture Books” category of the 2020 Midwest Book Awards


The Author and Illustrator of this Book

Martha Seif Simpson

Martha Seif Simpson’s first book with World Wisdom (through our children’s books imprint, Wisdom Tales Press) was The Dreidel That Wouldn’t Spin: A Toyshop Tale of Hanukkah (2014). The story is a charming account of a toyshop owner who witnesses a bit of a miracle in his store and through it comes to appreciate the true meaning of Hanukkah. The story is set in an Eastern European city in the early twentieth century, and features beautiful images of that time and place by award-winning illustrator Durga Yael Bernhard.

Ms. Simpson’s second book for Wisdom Tales continues looking into the daily — but unusual! — life of the toyshop keeper. This one, Esther’s Gragger: A Toyshop Tale of Purim (2018), focuses on the Jewish festival of Purim. D. Yael Bernhard is back, too, adding her award-winning illustrations to the book. The lively cast of characters quibble and carouse in a bygone world of warmth, surprise, heroism, and generosity. The book’s playful language and illustrations hint at ancient roots and hidden meanings which are just waiting for young readers to discover. This is a tale ideal for reading aloud for fun, but also for learning. Both Wisdom Tales books written by Simpson have won awards.

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Durga Yael Bernhard

D. Yael Bernhard is a busy writer and illustrator of books on many subjects, primarily for children. Her first work published by Wisdom tales were her playful and expressive illustrations for Never Say a Mean Word Again (2014), which was written by Jacqueline Jules. Another book featuring Ms. Bernhard’s sense of color, design, fun, and different places and times is The Dreidel That Wouldn’t Spin: A Toyshop Tale of Hanukkah (2014), written by Martha Seif Simpson. Bernhard again collaborated with author Simpson by illustrating another toyshop tale, Esther’s Gragger (2018). Ms. Bernhard has also written (in verse) as well as illustrated a unique children’s book, Just Like Me, Climbing a Tree: Exploring Trees Around the World (2015). It is about the sense of wonder and adventure a child would experience climbing some exotic trees of the world. All of D. Yael Bernhard’s books for Wisdom Tales have won awards, which are listed below.

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Reviews of Esther’s Gragger: A Toyshop Tale of Purim


“It's not often that you get a toy shop, a brave girl, a caring brother, a powerful community outcry, a parade, and teachings about a religious holiday all rolled into one. Durga Yael Bernhard, who also illustrated Never Say a Mean Word Again, brings all these elements alive with festive illustrations reminiscent of the art of Tomie dePaola.

“And that's not all: Esther's Gragger has pages at the end devoted to explaining what Purim is, how it is practiced today, what graggers are, and how to make your own noisemakers. You may find yourself, along with your favorite 4-8 year old, filling small containers with bells, pebbles, or dried beans and celebrating Purim by making some noise of your own!”
— from a review in Spirituality & Practice



“Explore the history and traditions of the Jewish holiday of Purim in this modern-day tale of wisdom and courage set in a village toy shop where, just like Queen Esther, a little girl stands up for what is right. Create your own noisemaker, or gragger, from an old milk carton or make a tambourine from paper plates and join in the lively celebration, filled with food, drinks, friends, family, and lots of love and laughter.”
Pallas Gates McCorquodale, from a review in Foreword Reviews



… Esther's Gragger: A Toyshop Tale of Purim by author Martha Seif Simpson and illustrator Yael Bernhard is a picturebook tale that is ideal for reading aloud for fun, also for teaching children ages 4-8 about the Jewish holiday of Purim. Entertaining and informative, Esther's Gragger is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.”
—from a revierw in Midwest Book Reviews (Reviewer's Bookwatch)



Esther's Gragger: A Toyshop Tale of Purim … tells of Esther's dilemma when she earns a special whirling noisemaker (a "gragger") from delivering charitable gifts on Purim. She's ready to carry her treasure in the Purim parade; but first she must face a bully who seeks to steal her prize. Kids with good reading skills will appreciate a close inspection of Purim celebrations, challenges to peace and wellbeing, and a warm story of overcoming adversity.”
—from a review in Children's Bookwatch, The Judaic Shelf, a publication of Midwest Book Reviews



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