But­ter­flies Under Our Hats

Sandy Eisen­berg Sas­so; Joani Keller Rothen­berg, illus.
  • Review
By – May 14, 2012

The res­i­dents of Chelm still have no com­mon sense and no luck. They have giv­en up — no longer build­ing hous­es, repair­ing side­walks or plant­i­ng gar­dens. When a strange woman comes to town, she offers some­thing bet­ter than luck — hope. Sure enough, beau­ti­ful but­ter­flies land in the town square and the towns­peo­ple catch them under their hats, just as they are instruct­ed to do. But when it begins to rain, the towns­peo­ple need their hats to keep dry. Of course, the but­ter­flies fly away, rein­forc­ing the lack-of-luck in Chelm. After a clos­er look, how­ev­er, they see a trace of but­ter­fly pow­der” left behind under each hat. That seems to be all the hope they need to start rebuild­ing their hous­es, side­walks and gar­dens. From then on, they focus on the traces of hope they had all along — right under their hats. 

As with all of Rab­bi Sasso’s books, the val­ues here can be shared by peo­ple of all denom­i­na­tions. The gor­geous illus­tra­tions enhance the reader’s expe­ri­ence, allow­ing the read­er to feel the excite­ment and hope as it grows in Chelm, although the Chelm depict­ed here clear­ly has no roots in any East­ern Euro­pean vil­lage. The book will inspire read­ers to look under their own hats” when they think all is lost. 

Rachel Ros­ner is the Direc­tor of the Jew­ish Book Fes­ti­val in Rochester, NY. She also runs Jew­ish Fam­i­ly Pro­grams for the JCC, and has worked there since 1994. She holds a degree in Ear­ly Child­hood Edu­ca­tion from Syra­cuse University.

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