Each year, after Rosh Hashanah, many Jewish families begin to prepare for Sukkot. This is a fun holidays where some build a sukkah in their yard and eat meals and sleep under the stars. In the past our boys have helped to decorate the sukkah at our synagogue while at nursery school and Hebrew School. Looking back we have a lot of wonderful memories with our children celebrating Sukkot together.
Thanks to the PJ Library, we were introduced to new book about Sukkot. The Vanishing Gourds: A Sukkot Mystery by Susan Axe-Bronk arrived for JSL to read during the holiday season. I have to admit, that I may have been more excited to sit down and read it together. Once I started to read, JSL was hooked. He wanted to know more about Sara and the way her family celebrates Sukkot.
When you begin the story, you are introduced to Sara. We watch as she and her family prepare for Sukkot. She helps her father to build the sukkah, she bakes items to eat in the sukkah, and she decorates the sukkah. Sara goes with her mother to a farm to get some gourds to hang in their sukkah. The beautiful illustrations by Marta Monelli make the book even more festive. The crisp autumn feel is present as we see Sara, the gourds, and sukkah happenings. Then something starts to happen to the gourds in the sukkah and we follow along as Sara solves the mystery.
JSL really enjoyed the story and wanted to know more about gourds. For some reason, he does not recall seeing them at the farms that we have gone to in the past. I do believe we may have to get some for fall decorations this year. We talked about memories of decorating the sukkah when he was in nursery school and how he would often eat lunch in it when the weather was nice. At the end of the book, JSL was happy with the ending and seemed to want to hear more about Sara and her family.
I also enjoyed the story. I liked that it was different than other Sukkot stories that we have read in the past. The cute mystery gives children the chance to think, predict, and wonder about the cause of the gourds being smashed. In addition to this, I liked how forgiving Sara was throughout the story. She had great coping strategies and looked ahead to the following year when she would celebrate Sukkot again. For families reading the book together, PJ Library also has a Reading Guide available. This includes an explanation of Sukkot, the sukkah, and includes questions that would work nicely as discussion starters. JSL and I will likely read the book again before Sukkot and chat about some of the items included.
Do you have any special Sukkot books that you like to read with your family? As always, please share what you have read recently. Be sure to link up to your book posts in the comments below. Include something you read on your own, with a child, or someone else. Tuesday Tales are all about spreading the love for books.
Disclosure: My son received this book as a members of the PJ Library. Membership in our area is free and we are never expected to review/write about this, I simply wanted to share a new book with others. All opinions are my own.