Clever Rachel by Debby Waldman

Clever RachelOh dear. I just got linked to by the delightful folks at OyBaby! and I’m feeling the pressure to replace the Rosh Hashanah page with something new. Sigh.

So, great new book? Debby Waldman’s Clever Rachel. Same author and illustrator (the fantastic Cindy Revell) as A Sack Full of Feathers means same great art, text and town. This time, the story is based on the old story of the innkeeper’s clever daughter but more child-friendly. Here’s the book description:

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.

One of my favorite things about this book? The list of riddles at the back of the book. Another favorite? I just love smart girls at the center of books.


  1. Thanks so much for the lovely review, it’s always great to know when people appreciate your efforts!

  2. Terrific story! Kids love riddles and of the many books that I’ve read to groups of children, stories with riddles are among the favorites.

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