Raisel's Riddle (Hardcover)

By Erica Silverman, Susan Gaber (Illustrator)

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9780374361686, 40pp.

Publication Date: March 1, 1999



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.

Praise For Raisel's Riddle

"Raisel has been well educated by Zaydeh, her rabbi grandfather; loathe to accept charity after his death, she travels to the city in search of work and lands a job as scrub girl in the kitchen of a well-to-do rabbi. The cook works her mercilessly and laughs at Raisel's notion of attending the costumed festivities at Purim. But a kind deed to an old woman garners Raisel three wishes, and she makes a grand entrance at the party (dressed as Quen Esther) and wins the favor of the rabbi's son, leaving him with a riddle to ponder as she flees at midnight."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Starring a Jewish orphan in a long-ago Polish village, this colorful, expertly structured variation on Cinderella offers many things: an independent-minded heroine plus a hero attracted by wisdom and virtue; a fairy-tale patina plus old-world ambience; and a tie-in to Purim that grounds the story without limiting its appeal...A splendid story, intelligently served." --Starred, Publishers Weekly "A lovely re-imagining of the Cinderella story, with a fine twist."--Starred, Booklist