Review: Meet the Hamantaschen

Meet the Hamantaschen: A Purim Mystery

written and illustrated by Alan Silberberg

Viking (imprint of Penguin Random House), 2022

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Freidele Galya Soban Biniashvili

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Three hamantaschen detectives – chocolate, poppy seed and jelly-filled, of course – receive a mysterious call to find a megillah that has gone missing from a Purim party, leading them to work on The Case of the Purim Problem. Such is the premise of Alan Silberberg’s latest title Meet the Hamantaschen: A Purim Mystery. In disguise as a cake, a cookbook, and a cactus, the three detectives arrive at the party and question the prime suspects in the play: Beth the lox (Vashti), Melvin the matzah ball (King Ahasuerus). Sam the blintz (Mordecai), Barry the kreplach (Haman) and Zelda the rugelach (Queen Esther). Eventually, the mystery of the missing megillah is solved after the play is performed, followed by a Purim party complete with singing and dancing. A glossary of terms, containing mainly the different foods mentioned in the story, rounds out this picture book.

Told through a combination of comic book speech bubbles and traditional prose, this book’s intention is not to accurately go through the entire Purim story with all its complicated details and intricacies. Rather, Meet the Hamantaschen is written as a light-hearted, humorous story that complements the spirit of the Purim holiday itself, which is a day for celebrating. As such, add the reading of this book, with its entertaining and fun illustrations, to the classroom setting or at your festive meal on the day of Purim to get everyone – young and old - excited about the holiday.

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Reviewer Freidele Galya Soban Biniashvili is the author of several books including MYSTERY AT NIGHTLIGHT RESORT, SHLOIMIE’S LETTER, THE MYSTERY OF THE LOST WATCH, I LOVE MATZAH and GOLDIE AND THE GUESTS. A second-generation Canadian, she lives with her family in Toronto. (Bio illustration courtesy of Michael Biniashvili.)