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Raisel's Riddle

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  70 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
A Jewish Cinderella

What's more precious than rubies, more lasting than gold?

Raisel knows. She learned it from her grandfather, a poor scholar who taught her. When he dies, Raisel finds work in the home of a rabbi. His jealous cook makes Raisel toil from sunup to sundown. And as the Jewish holiday of Purim approaches, Raisel works even harder. The rabbi's son presides over
Paperback, 40 pages
Published March 10th 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published March 2nd 1999)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-27 of 130)
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Apr 02, 2009 Kathryn rated it really liked it
Now here's a Cinderella retelling that I will applaud! :-) Raisel is a kindhearted, smart young woman and her "Prince Charming" is impressed with her intelligence! (woo hoo!) Knowledge and goodness are both touted as desirable traits. It's nice to see that the "evil stepmother" figure is instead a miserable old cook--a welcome change, in my book. It's set during Purim, so could be a good holiday book, as well. Lovely story and a update of the original to appeal to modern sensibilities about wome ...more
Erin Cupp
Mar 25, 2016 Erin Cupp rated it it was amazing
It's a Purim Cinderella story! Orphan Raisel is raised by her Zaydeh (grandfather), who gives her a rich, scholarly education, even teaching her the Talmud. When Zaydeh dies, Raisel must strike out on her own. After much wandering, the rabbi in the big city makes his cook take Raisel on as her assistant, but Cook is not happy about this. The story that follows echoes the Cinderella story, but instead of great shoes making the match, Raisel's prince finds her because of her great mind. I'm sure s ...more
Kristen Reyes
Apr 20, 2016 Kristen Reyes rated it it was ok
How accurate are representations of language, culture, setting, and relationships?
The culture of Raisel is Jewish. She serves her family, humbly, although they treat her poorly. This story resembles the one of Cinderella. The way that it is different is that Raisel studies and reads throughout her days spent in her home (not singing or talking to mice or birds). I do not know much about the Jewish culture but Raisel's character is family orientated, curious and intelligent.

• How is difference c
Jul 14, 2010 Jonathan rated it really liked it
A beautiful and empowering Jewish version of Cinderella. The illustrations are simple and are drawn from a variety of visual perspectives. The story feels authentic whether it is or not, I don't know. When her scholarly grandfather dies, Raisel is moves to the city penniless. A distinguished rabbi hires her to help his disgruntled and paranoid cook. An elderly beggar woman, touched by Raisel's kindness transforms her so that she can attend a Purim plsy. Raisel charms the Rabbi's son with a riddl ...more
Nov 07, 2010 Karen rated it it was ok
Shelves: folktales
This is a Jewish Cinderella. This story is a lot more like the traditional Cinderella story. When Raisel’s grandfather dies, Raisel finds work in a rabbi’s house, working for his cook. She is a mean and overbearing women, like our known stepmothers. Instead of our heroine going to a party or ball, Raisel goes to a play. When the rabbi’s son goes looking for the mysterious woman, he is looking for someone who could tell a riddle. I really liked the knight in shiny armor wants a woman for her wit ...more
Feb 27, 2016 Tamara rated it really liked it
Who would think that modern-day kids would still fall in love with a Cinderella story? Both my school-age daughter and son enjoy this charming tale and have asked me to read it to them many times. Extra points to the author for having a female protagonist who loves learning Torah with her grandfather, and for the moral element that makes the story more meaningful.
Jan 19, 2013 Carol rated it it was amazing
"What's more precious than rubies, more lasting than gold?'" Raisel's riddle wins the heart of her handsome prince in this Eastern European Cinderella story. Poverty and jealousy are always obstacles to love in the Cinderella legend, which here in the United States is most familiar as Charles Perrault's 300 year-old French tale. In Raisel's Riddle, Cinderella is the granddaughter of a beloved scholar. Though Raisel looses her Zaydeh as Cinderella looses her parents, he leaves her with a valuabl ...more
Mar 07, 2014 Heidi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Another Cinderella story. The illustrations were beautiful and the story was unique for a Cinderella tale. I learned new things about the Jewish culture and I LOVED that the "prince" character wanted her because she was intelligent, not just beautiful. Her looks didn't matter.
Jan 03, 2015 Dale rated it it was amazing
This Jewish retelling of Cinderella is enchanting. My granddaughter and I loved it! Learned more about the Jewish feast of Purim and some timeless truths.
This Jewish Cinderella tale stresses the importance of scholarship, intelligence and goodness of heart as the traits needed to win a Rabbi’s son. When Raisel finds herself orphaned by her grandfather’s passing, she heads to the city looking for work and lands a job in the household of a Rabbi where she is mistreated by the cook. After sharing her meager meal with a beggar woman Raisel is granted three wishes and finds herself at the Purim play where she impresses the Rabbi’s son with her intelle ...more
Lisa Rathbun
Dec 14, 2014 Lisa Rathbun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this Cinderella tale set in Poland in the late 1800s during the Purim festival. The rabbi's son (instead of the prince) is attracted by her beauty but intrigued by her brains. Their brief conversation is actually more discussion than most Cinderella tales show between the two main characters, but she flees, leaving him with a riddle. I love that she is valued for her knowledge not just her appearance. (The only thing I don't like is the strange final picture, where they look like they ar ...more
Apr 27, 2014 Cyndy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cinderella
Polish Version of Cinderella Story. My favorite.
Jan 08, 2013 Charity rated it liked it
Shelves: kids
Beautiful illustrations, but I admit to being a little hesitant about the Cinderella "she's saved by marrying well" storyline. It does afford much opportunity for discussion with the kiddos, though, especially when her employers seem so oblivious to how poorly the cook treats her. I mean, seriously; you don't have to marry her, just notice her. The focus on study is nice, though. I do appreciate that her husband-to-be loves her for her mind, not just her looks (although would he have noticed her ...more
Jul 18, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this Jewish take on Cinderella starring Raisel, a well educated young woman. Raisel had to work as a scrub girl in the kitchen of a well-to-do rabbi following the death of her rabbi grandfather Zaydeh. Thanks to an old beggar woman who grants Raisel three wishes, Raisel was able to attend a costume party at Purim dressed as Queen Esther. There, she meets the rabbi's son who falls in love with her for her intelligence rather than her beauty after hearing her riddle. I would recommend th ...more
I really enjoyed this fun spin on a classic tale. A Jewish Cinderella story? And she ends up with the rabbi's son? Priceless.
Mar 03, 2012 Sheniqua rated it really liked it
This book is similar to Cinderella where an orphaned girl leaves her home with her grandfather after he dies. She goes in search for food and work and comes across a rabbi's home. However, the cook is not delighted. In the end, Raisel finds her Prince Charming, the rabbi's son, and marries him. I would use this book to discuss different genre such fairytales and talk about this book being considered an adaptation.
Barbara Lovejoy
Apr 16, 2013 Barbara Lovejoy rated it it was amazing
This is another multicultural Cinderella book I bought with money donated by an Esperanza board member for our Esperanza library. The story is great and the illustrations are BEAUTIFUL.
Jenna Cohen
Oct 11, 2012 Jenna Cohen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the "Jewish version" of the Cinderella story! I especially like that Raisel is "attractive" not for her beauty, but for her smarts!
Thomas Andrikus
Raisel's Riddle is the Jewish version of Cinderella story. The story is a bit fast-paced though.
Melanie Hansen
May 17, 2011 Melanie Hansen rated it really liked it
Jewish Cinderella story that also teaches the importance of education through a fun riddle. Great book.
Jun 28, 2011 Sarah rated it really liked it
A Jewish telling of Cinderella. My girls like it better than the regular version.
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