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Raisel's Riddle

Susan Gaber, Illustrator
Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers

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.

** Starred Review**
"A lovely re-imagining of the Cinderella story, with a fine twist... . This universal story fits into its Jewish milieu as neatly as a key in a lock." Booklist

"Silverman crafts a story that teaches the importance of learning while retaining the romance of the fairy tale. The quotes from the Talmud blend in well with the rest of the narration and the themes reappear in the art." School Library Journal

"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." Kirkus