Purim Books


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Sammy Spider's First Purim

By Sylvia A. Rouss
The Shapiro family is getting ready for Purim. Josh is making a grogger to take to the synagogue Megillah reading. Sammy Spider wants to participate, but as Sammy's mother reminds him, "Spiders don't celebrate holidays; spiders spin webs." This time Sammy's curiosity gets him stuck inside a grogger, spinning noisily among the beans. How will he escape?

Description from Publisher


Sammy Spider returns for another adventure with the Shapiro family. Sammy watches the Josh Shapiro make a costume for Purim. He wants to go to synagogue to hear the story of Esther, but his mother tells him "Spiders don't go to synagogue. Spiders spin webs." After Sammy watches a bit too closely, he accidentally gets stapled inside Josh's homemade grogger. With a little help from his mother, Sammy manages to get freed just in time. Like all the books in the Sammy Spider series, Sammy Spider's First Purim teaches a concept in addition to the Jewish holiday. In this case, different kinds of sounds are emphasized. Children will delight in the continuing saga of their friend Sammy Spider!

Lori's Description
Raisel's Riddle
Raisel's Riddle
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.

Description from Booklist

Silverman tells of Raisel, an orphan girl who is raised by her scholarly grandfather until his death; three wishes from an old beggar woman allow Raisel to attend the Purim play dressed as Queen Esther, where she captures the attention of the rabbi's son. It is her clever riddle about the precious nature of learning, however, that eventually wins his heart. Carefully crafted, this story not only entertains, but it teaches readers about the Jewish holiday, Purim, Queen Esther, and the tradition of costumed re-enactment. Unlike a majority of the other versions of the Cinderella story, this one does not include a self-absorbed prince who combs the countryside looking for a bride of a particular shoe size; refreshingly, Silverman's hero is as intelligent as he is handsome, and seeks a bride who is his equal. Graber's illustrations are the perfectly complement, embodying Raisel's transformation from a life of servitude to one of riches "more precious than rubies."

Description from Kirkus Reviews


This delightful book takes a Jewish spin on the story of Cinderella. Raisel is raised by her grandfather, a Talmudic scholar. When he takes his last breath, Raisel goes out in search of a job. She finds work at the home of a famed Rabbi, where the cook feels needlessly threatened by Raisel and thus works her day and night. Purim arrives, the cook ensures that Raisel cannot attend a Purim party by giving her extra chores. After getting three wishes from an old beggar, Raisel is able to conjure up a beautiful Purim costume and a coach to get her to the party. While there, she is able to peak the interest of the Rabbi's son first by her beauty and then by asking him a riddle. Before he is able to answer, the clock strikes midnight, and Raisel must race home before the magic disappears. The Rabbi then announces that his son will marry the woman who asked him the riddle that showed rare intelligence, and of course, only Raisel knows the riddle. This extertaining rendition of a popular fairy tale will enthrall children of all ages. The lush watercolors easily draw children into the story. The theme of a woman's intelligence being able to "snare" the prince, is especially wonderful for young girls to hear. This superb story will be an excellent choice for Purim reading or for year-round storytime.

Lori's Description

It's Purim Time!

By Latifa Berry Kropf
Large, color photographs show students in a Jewish preschool participating in a variety of activities as they prepare to celebrate Purim. Individual children are shown making a crown for King Ahashuerus, a beard for Mordechai, a necklace for Queen Esther, and a mustache for Haman. Others choose costumes from the dress-up corner. Groggers (noisemakers) are made from soda cans filled with birdseed and decorated with colored paper, stickers, and marker. As the teacher reads the story of Queen Esther, the children shake their groggers at each mention of Haman's name. A snack of tri-cornered hamantaschen (cookies) is eaten, decorated bags of food are distributed, and the class poses for a Purim portrait. The craft project and a very brief explanation of the holiday are appended. One or two simple sentences of text per page in extra-large type provide a caption for each photo. Purim offers an attractive, appealing introduction to a holiday that children love to celebrate.

Description from School Library Journal


Photographs of preschoolers preparing for a Purim celebration highlight this delightful holiday book. The children select costumes, eat hamantaschen, deliver shalach manot (gifts of good), and make their own groggers. The text is simple and conversational. The photographs are of an actual preschool class and the authenticity won't be lost on readers who will relate to the subjects in the pictures. The book includes a description of Purim and directions for how to make the groggers that are made by the students in the book. An excellent pick for preschool-aged children.

Lori's Description

When It's Purim

By Edie Stoltz Zolkower and Barb Bjornson

(Board Book)
Introduce toddlers to a beloved Purim tradition with sprightly rhyme and brightly colored illustrations depicting animals making hamantaschen. The new holiday board book will delight preschoolers and their parents and teachers with its whimsical animal illustrations.

Description from Publisher

This board book shows animals making hamantaschen to give as gifts to friends (mishloach manot). The bright illustrations and simple rhyming text will be a hit with toddlers.

Lori's Description

The Mystery Bear : A Purim Story

By Leone Adelson
When Little Bear wakes up from hibernation and goes off in search of something to eat, the smells of a delicious feast draw him to a nearby house. The people inside are having a wonderful time and are delighted to welcome the stranger in a bear costume—after all, it’s Purim, when lots of people dress up! Little Itzik suspects that the stranger might actually be a real bear, but everyone else is having too much fun to pay attention to his warnings. The comical story and Naomi Howland’s bright, jolly illustrations capture the noisy and cheerful spirit of a favorite holiday. Includes an Author’s Note about the celebration of Purim.

Description from Publisher


When Little Bear wakes up too soon from hibernation, he follows his nose in search of something to eat. He finds a costumed family and follows them back to their house. They are celebrating Purim, so they simply think that Little Bear is simply a short person (Peshel the pickle seller? Heshel the herring man?) in a clever bear costume. After eating lots of yummy treats, Little Bear nods off. After several people try to wake him up, the groggy Little Bear lets out a giant roar, scaring all the villager who finally realize that he is a real bear after all. The guests flee and Little Bear is able to return home to finish his hibernation. The bright detailed illustrations will engage young readers with the text. A short description of the holiday of Purim is included at the end of the book.

Lori's Description
A Costume for Noah
A Costume for Noah: A Purim Story

By Susan Remick Topek
Everyone in Noah's nursery school class is busy planning costumes for the Purim parade. But all Noah's folks can think about is the arrival of a new baby, and Noah is feeling sorry for himself until...

Description from Publisher


Preschooler Noah is back for another tale. Noah's teacher asks him what he would like to be for Purim. Noah does not have a costume in mind, but he knows he wants to be something different this year. His parents aren't able to help because they are preoccupied with the imminent arrival of a new baby. Finally, when Purim arrives, Noah comes up with a totally new costume idea. The characters are shown preparing for a Purim celebration by making groggers and baking hamantaschen, however children unfamiliar with the holiday of Purim may have trouble putting it into context. Children will be able to relate to the typical preschool dilemmas faced by Noah. An excellent choice for preschoolers.

Lori's Description

The Purim Surprise

By Lesley Simpson
Purim is the time when everything is turned upside down. And that's how it feels for Naomi, who has just moved and has to deliver shalach manot (Purim treats) to complete strangers. Plus it seems that her mother is so busy that she has forgotten Naomi's birthday. But Naomi is in for a surprise!

Description from Publisher


Naomi moved into a new apartment only a few days before the start of Purim. Instead of unpacking, her mother insists on preparing shlach manot to deliver to everyone on the Jewish directory map. Naomi grudgingly helps (although being allowed to stay up late to bake hamantaschen and skip the produce section of the supermarket in order to head directly over to the candy aisle made it a bit easier for her to acquiesce). However, Naomi has something else on her mind. Her seventh birthday is also on Purim and her mother hasn't said a word about it. But Purim is the holiday where everything gets turned upside down, and Naomi's mother has a bit of a surprise up her sleeve. Children will delight in the silliness of Purim. They will be able to relate to the angst of being new in town and not knowing anyone. An great choice for preschoolers and younger elementary aged children.

Lori's Description
Purim Fun for Little Hands
Purim Fun for Little Hands
A Purim celebration! Craft ideas, games, riddles, and activity cards. With a picture story of Purim and colorful centerfold board game.

Description from publisher


An outstanding activity book to keep children excited about Purim. This book includes Purim puppets, a cutout megillah for children to color, activity cards, a rebus story of Esther, Purim crafts, coloring, puzzles, games, and more. This book would be well-suited for a Jewish preschool or for at home Purim fun!

Lori's Description

Make Your Own Megillah
The Purim story for young children. With full color pictures plus pages to color and assemble into a scroll. Purim crafts, recipes, party games, and songs.

Description from publisher


This craft book enables elementary-age children to assemble their own English-translation Megillah. Each page features a page of text summarizing a chapter of the Book of Esther with a picture for children to color. Detailed instructions tell children how to cut out the pages and glue them together to form their own Megillah scroll. Also includes the Hebrew prayers to be said before reading the Megillah, a short description of Purim customs, sheet music for holiday songs, Purim crafts, and a hamantaschen recipe. An excellent choice for Hebrew schools or for Purim celebrations at home!

Lori's Description

Here Come the Purim Players!

By Barbara Cohen
"They're coming! They're coming! The Purim players are coming!" So begins a Purim tale of yesteryear by Barbara Cohen, renowned writer of Jewish children's books. Enter the world of Reb Zalman and Reb Yisroel and their fellow Jews in Prague; listen to how the Jews of Persia escaped destruction because of Esther's bravery and Mordecai's wisdom. With beautiful, full-color illustrations by Shoshana Mekibel, Here Come the Purim Players! is a lively retelling of the story of Purim that is sure to have the whole family laughing with joy.

Description from Publisher

This delightful holiday offering, first published in 1984 with pictures by Beverly Brodsky, retains the size and design of the earlier book and the text is identical. In the story, set in medieval Prague, the Jews in the ghetto crowd into the rabbi's house for the traditional Purim performance of the story of Esther. A young boy plays the part of Queen Esther, the Persian Jew who saved her people from death at the hands of King Ahasuerus's evil minister, Haman. The performance resembles a Globe Theater Shakespearean play complete with lively audience participation; the activities and comments of the locals provide humor and local color. While the watercolor artwork is not as delicate or as accomplished as Brodsky's watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations, it does provide an adequate accompaniment to this lively read-aloud choice.

Description from School Library Journal


Barbara Cohen tells the traditional Purim story in an usual way. A group of actors performs a Purim play at Reb Zalman's house. They tell of King Ahasuerus's selection of Esther to be his bride, Haman's attempts to destroy the Jews, and Esther's eventual saving of her people. The story is told by the actors ... with hilarious commentary from the audience. An excellent choice for reading aloud.

Lori's Description

Purim!

By Camille Kress

(Board Book)
In her third board book, Camille Kress continues on a voyage through the Jewish calendar. From the author of Let There Be Lights! and Tot Shabbat, Purim! introduces toddlers and preschoolers to the festive holiday's symbols and celebrations. Through her delightful watercolor illustrations and inviting description, young readers will learn about the heroes and villains of a story called Purim. The sweet smells of hamantashen, the click-clack sounding of the groggers, and the mystery of the masquerade -- all come to life on the pages of this charming board book.

Description from Publisher


Camile Kress (Tot Shabbat, Let There Be Lights!, A Tree Trunk Seder, The High Holy Days) brings another board book to her beautiful collection. Soft watercolor illustrations effectively work with a very short text. She introduces the holiday as being a time for "laughter, silly noises, and things topsy-turvey" and then quickly focuses on the Biblical story that is the basis for the holiday. A wonderful choice for reading aloud with toddlers.

Lori's Description

It's Party Time! : A Purim Story

By Jonny Zucker
A mother, father, and three young children in a typical Jewish family celebrate their most important holidays in the attractively illustrated Festival Time books, which speak not only to Jewish children but to boys and girls of all faiths. Purim is a time of merriment, and this family celebrates by dressing the kids in homemade biblical costumes, giving gifts of food, and going to a party. At the reading of the Megillah, the children make merry noises to drown out the name of Haman, the evil advisor to the Persian king. Haman is described in the Book of Esther as the man who was foiled in his plot to murder Persia’s Jewish population.


Also in the Festival Time! series:

Description from Publisher

Goldie's Purim
This is a welcome, lovingly interpreted entry in Zalben's (Leo and Blossom's Sukkah) holiday series. Here the whole family is busily preparing for Purim--baking hamantaschen (traditional triangle-shaped pastry), sewing costumes and practicing lines for the Purim play, giving shalach manot (little gifts of food) to neighbors and friends. Goldie is both excited and a bit nervous--she has the leading role of Queen Esther in the play. At synagogue the next day, the play is a success--especially Goldie. Papa reads the megillah (the biblical story of Esther) and the Purim party is great fun. Zalben's detailed drawings of cozy interior scenes and her sweetly anthropomorphized bears are appealingly childlike. An afterword includes information on the Purim play and a recipe for hamantaschen.

Description from Publisher's Weekly

Please note that Goldie's Purim can also be found in the Beni's Family Treasury : Stories for the Jewish Holidays collection


A Very Special Gift

By Shifrah Gettinger
Gali is a little girl with a big idea. She wants so badly to give something to her mother. Abba gets a Lulav and Esrog for Succos, her brother gets colorful candles to use on Chanukah, and all Jews got the Torah on Shavous. So, Gali decides that Purim is the time for her mother to receive a very special gift. Step by step, Gali saves and plans and works toward her goal. But then, an awful mistake seems to ruin everything. Imma's gift becomes worthless. . . or does it? A Purim book with a year-round message about finding the good in everything. The beautiful, full-color illustrations are a treat.

Description from N'shei Newsletter

This is a colorful book for children three to eight years old. It tells the story of Gali, who wants to get a gift for her mother, plans for it, raises money, buys it, decorates it and is ready to give it on Purim but as she gives it, it falls and smashes to pieces. Upset isn't the word, what can she do? Well, she gets a brilliant idea and puts it to the best of Purim uses. You will have to read the book to know the surprise ending.

Description from The Jewish Press

For the longest time, Avigail wanted to buy her mother a present. Ima was always busy doing things for everyone in the family-wasn't it time to do something just for Ima? In this heartwarming tale, learning to deal with disappointment turns out to be the most special gift of all.

Description from Publisher

The Purim Costume

By Peninnah Schram
In this warmly told contemporary tale of Purim by renowned storyteller Penninah Schram, the complete story of Purim is framed by the experience of a modern-day child. Rebecca is tired of always dressing as Queen Esther. Her mother suggests many options, but none appeal to Rebecca. Finally, her mother suggests Vashti. As Rebecca considers this unusual option and listens to the story of Purim at the spiel, she comes to realize just how important Vashti was.

Description from Publisher


Peninnah Schram takes a slightly different twist on the Purim story in this picture book. Rebecca is trying to find just the right costume for the Purim festival, but doesn't want to be Queen Esther yet again. Her solution: come as Vashti after her expulsion from the castle. After all, if she hadn't refused to dance for King Ahasuerus, then Esther wouldn't have been given the opportunity to save the Jewish people! The story of Purim is delightfully woven in as a Purim play performed by children during the festival. The initial conversation between Rebecca and her mother is a bit contrived, but the story picks up once Rebecca selects her costume. A good choice for older elementary aged readers.

Lori's Description
The Whole Megillah (Almost)
The Whole Megillah (Almost)
Chapter summaries of the Purim story in Hebrew and English, with colorful pictures, songs, and a 10-act play with production notes.

Description from Publisher


This engaging book is designed to help older elementary children take the story to a different level. It includes abbreviated chapters of the Megillah in English and Hebrew with thought-provoking questions about each chapters. Music and a short 10-act play are also included. An excellent choice for Hebrew Schools or for parents who want their children to think beyond the basics.

Lori's Description
Esther
Esther
This retelling of the story of Esther is presented in a beautifully designed book. The text is printed in a calligraphy style which is both decorative and easy to read. The soft pencil line drawings supplement the text and are in keeping with the Biblical theme. Esther, the young Jewish girl chosen to be the wife of the Persian King Ahasuerus, thwarted the schemes of the king's wicked chief minister to kill all the Jews of Persia. The event is celebrated to this day by the holiday of Purim. The story is told in a simple, direct style and has all of the elements of an absorbing tale: a villain; a beautiful heroine; and a hero, Esther's Uncle Mordecai. A good addition to the Bible stories section of any library.

from School Library Journal

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