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Clever Rachel
By author: Debby Waldman   Illustrated by: Cindy Revell
Selling Points: Jewish folktale, riddles, friendship, pride
ISBN: 9781554690817
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Oct/01/2009
Lexile Level: AD600L
Pages: 32
Picture Book
Availability: In stock.
Price:  $19.95
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Jacob was stunned. Rachel had devoured his best riddles the way his father's customers devoured fresh rugelach. He was about to say so when he was distracted by a loud noise at the inn's door. Standing in the entry was a young woman, who might have been beautiful had she not looked so distraught.
"I am Miriam," she said. "I hear there is a clever child at this inn. One who is good at solving riddles."
"I am happy to help you," Rachel said, but Jacob's voice was louder.
"My name is Jacob," he announced, stepping in front of Rachel.
"But I'm the one you're looking for," Rachel protested.
In this retelling of a Jewish folktale, Jacob tries to stump Rachel with his best riddles but fails repeatedly. When a young woman in need of help presents Rachel and Jacob with the trickiest riddles of all, they discover the only way to solve them is to work together.

Canadian Literature - June 1, 2010
"Colourfully illustrated in acrylics…The lesson here is that while individual excellence should be encouraged, cooperation is the only path to wisdom."
Library Media Connection - May 1, 2010
[Starred review] "The pairing of the author and illustrator to bring another Jewish read-aloud format works wonderfully. The children in the story help solve many riddles and teach the reader about pride, wisdom, and teamwork. Sprinkled throughout are Jewish values and Yiddish terms that teach culture in an unimposing way. Highly recommended."
Canadian Children's Book News - January 1, 2010
"A pleasure to read aloud. The main characters are made vivid by their rich language and inner thoughts…Children will be attracted to the folk-art vitality on every page."
St. Albert Gazette - December 12, 2009
"A riddle wrapped in old-fashioned, homespun wisdom…Revell's folksy illustrations beautifully complement this simply told story…There is a whimsical, timeless quality to each sketch."
Cleveland Jewish News - December 4, 2009
"This book is absolutely charming and concisely written. It's full of the kind of Jewish values parents want their children to absorb from a very young age: work hard, do your best, cooperate…Any child old enough for a book with real pages will love this story and especially the page at the end with riddles they can use to stump their friends." - December 3, 2009
"The illustrations are bold and whimsical and the text is very entertaining with a feminist slant…There is even a page of riddles to test one's power of deductive reasoning at the conclusion of the book."
Resource Links - December 1, 2009
"This would be a useful book to use during a multicultural or folktale lesson, or as a way to segue into the topic of riddles."
Book Notes (Center for Children's/Young Adult Books, MSU) - December 1, 2009
"A delightful story in which readers will like figuring out the riddles with Rachel and Jacob."
Puget Sound Council for Reviewing Children's Media - December 1, 2009
"This enchanting retelling of a Jewish folktale is laced with riddles that children will enjoy trying to solve...The warm acrylic folk art illustrations do much to enhance this delightful story that provides a glimpse of rich Jewish culture."
Ottawa Jewish Bulletin - November 16, 2009
"Waldman writes with tongue-in-cheek, understated humour and includes riddles galore in her story...Facial expressions and body language are particularly clever and telling in Cindy Revell's full-colour acrylic illustrations...A sparkling collaboration between the Alberta-based author and illustrator. Bravo!"
CM Magazine - October 23, 2009
"[The] acrylic illustrations…are reflective of the warm, fireside setting of the story…Revell's characters have evocative, believable facial expressions which add detail and drama to the story."
Edmonton Jewish News - October 1, 2009
"A vibrant book that tells a story that will entertain and educate young children about cooperation and teamwork… Waldman maintains the beautiful flavour of the folktale using simple and colourful language… 32 pages of sheer delight."


Resource Links "The Year's Best", commended  CA  2009
SYRCA Shining Willow nominee, short-listed  CA  2011
PJ Library Selection, commended  US  2009

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