Publisher: Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch
Author: Rochelle Kochin
Illustrated by: Janice Hechter
Format: 7" x10" Hardcover, 36 Pages
With just days until Sukkos, the Jews of Sislotch wait excitedly for their beautiful esrogim to arrive. But when a snowstorm delays the delivery wagon, the nervous driver takes matters into his own hands.
The Little Esrog is a touching tale of one modest esrog whose humility saves the holiday for the entire village.
With just days until Sukkos, the Jews of Sislotch wait excitedly for their beautiful esrogim to arrive. But when a snowstorm delays the delivery wagon the nervous driver takes matters into his own hands. Deftly written by Rochelle Kochin and charmingly illustrated by Janice Hechter, "The Little Esrog" is a truly touching picture book taloe for children of one modest esrog whose humility saves the holiday for the entire village. "The Little Esrog" is especially recommended for family, school, and community library collections.
--Midwest Book Review
“If only I were bigger,” thinks a child, “everyone would see how much I have to contribute.” Like the young child, the little esrog is small and easily ignored. Author Rochelle Kochin personifies the esrogim that are on their way to Sislotch, a small village of Jews eagerly awaiting the arrival of the ‘arba minim’ just before succos. The big, fragrant esrogim boast of their beauty: “I’m so big and beautiful. I’m sure every Jew in Sislotch will want a beautiful esrog like me to fulfill the mitzvah. And I smell so good, too. They’ll probably fight over me.” They taunt the little esrog and tell him, “who would want you for the mitzvah? ...They’ll make you into jam. And not much jam at that.” However, a serious mistake is made, and the little esrog finds itself in the right place at the right time. In ignorance, a replacement wagon driver mistakenly removes the pitom (tip) from each of the beautiful esrogim rendering them ‘posul’ – unusable for the mitzvah. Luckily, he overlooks the little esrog at the bottom of the box. The townspeople are in despair until Rivka, a young girl, discovers the little esrog. They joyously line up to say the bracha over the little esrog and its partners. And the big, beautiful esrogim are made into jam, Lots of jam.
The illustrations by Janice Hechter show expressive faces and lively esrogim in the context of a 19th century European shtetl, with a muted palette of browns and grays helping to highlight the hopeful yellow of the little esrog. Although the story takes place among strictly observant Jews, the message of the smallest among us having an important place in our communities – even saving the day – in universal.
--Rena Citrin, Library Media Specialist
Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, Chicago
During Sukkot we hold four species together and recite special prayers. One of these species is a citrus fruit called an etrog. In this story Rabbi Zalman is preparing a crate of etrogim to be sent to a nearby village. One etrog is much smaller than the rest but the Rabbi declares it is still kosher for the Sukkot rituals so joins the rest on their journey. The little etrog is picked on by the others and starts to worry that it won’t be chosen to be part of Sukkot.
As the box of etrogim start their journey snow begins to fall and the delivery driver makes a well intentioned mistake with the fruits. Luckily the little etrog had been hidden amongst the packaging so is the only one to arrive intact and can fulfill the rituals for everyone in the village.
Illustrated with delicate details this is a touching story about a humble little etrog and the traditions of Sukkot.
--Acorn Books Blog