By: Jamie Korngold
Illustrated by: Julie Fortenberry
Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
Publication Date: January 2014
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 2014
The moon was full, lighting up the way for Grandpa, Sadie, and Ori as they walked down the street hand-in-hand. Sadie glanced up at the moon and wanted to know if it was a holiday. She’d learned lots of interesting things in Hebrew school and knew that “Jewish holidays often begin with a full moon.” Passover and Purim were two of the most recent, but what could this special holiday be? No one had said anything about it. There wasn’t any holiday on the full moon, but Grandpa declared that “there is a holiday soon after.” Ori and Sadie had no clue. “It’s a mystery!” Indeed it was and they were going to have to find out about this mysterious holiday.
Ori sat on a stool as Sadie checked out the big calendar over her bookshelf. Mmmmm ... one, two, three days after the full moon there was a funny notation, “Lag Ba’Omer.” What could that possibly mean? Yes, “It’s a mystery!” Ori and Sadie said again. They began to search their bookshelves for some clues. There were books about Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah, Purim, Passover, and Shavuot, but no Lag Ba’Omer. They knew all about these other holidays because there were special things they celebrated with, including the “shofar their father blew on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.” This was truly a mystery. Would Ori and Sadie find anyone who could help them solve the mystery of Lag Ba’Omer?
This is a fun mystery of a minor Jewish holiday, Lag B’Omer, that children will enjoy solving right along with Ori and Sadie. It’s a very interesting mystery that will interest many in learning not only about Lag B’Omer (Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai), but also about other Jewish holidays. They begin their search by asking the UPS man, but get their first real clue when Aunt Katy asks, “Isn’t that when you go on picnics?” The artwork is simple, yet lively, and seems to express the importance of family life and the role of children during holiday celebrations, even minor ones. In the back of the book is a brief vignette that offers up additional information about the mysterious holiday of Lag B’Omer.
Quill says: This is a fun, unusual mystery that will help children learn minor Jewish holidays!