The Mysterious Guests: A Sukkot Story

by Eric A. Kimmel

Other authorsKatya Krenina (Illustrator)
Book, 2008



Call number

E 242 KIM




Holiday House (2008), 32 pages


Three mysterious guests appear at generous but impoverished Ezra's table on Sukkoth and bless him, while they bring curses upon his rich but selfish brother Eben.

User reviews

LibraryThing member theCajunLibrarian
Based on the tale of a lost traveler seeking a room in a mostly inhospitable village, Kimmel tells the story of two brothers who celebrate the Jewish harvest holiday of Sukkoth in opposing ways. One brother, extremely prosperous, invites only wealthy public figures to his Sukkoth altar while the
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other, humble and poor, welcomes anyone to celebrate. The tale reinforces the value that having a good heart is more important than beauty or a full purse.
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
Not my favorite Kimmel or Krenina, but still a nice story, good pictures, and an interesting way to learn about Jewish culture for those of us who don't know any Jewish people.  Ages 4-7 especially, I think, though it's designed as an all-ages picturebook.
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Prolific picture-book author Eric A. Kimmel spins a tale of two very different brothers in this story about the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot, utilizing the folk belief that the figures of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob visit people during the course of the celebrations. Wealthy but selfish, elder
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brother Eben sets a fine table in his sukkah - a temporary structure built for use during the festival - but he does not treat the poor who come to him as guests with courtesy. His younger brother Ezra, although poor, welcomes all to his sukkah table, and treats them with generosity, regardless of their state. When the three forefathers visit the brothers and receive a different kind of treatment, their blessing to each is the same - may the outward appearance of the sukkah match the inward reality of the host - but effects very different results...

Author Eric A. Kimmel and illustrator Katya Krenina have collaborated on a number of other picture-books, from The Spider's Gift: A Ukrainian Christmas Story to The Magic Dreidels: A Hanukkah Story. The Mysterious Guests: A Sukkot Story is the fifth such collaboration I have read, and it pairs an engaging and ultimately satisfying narrative about kindness and generosity being rewarded with lovely artwork that captures the beauty of the harvest season, and the brothers' sukkas. Tales in which mysterious visitors bring rewards or curses, depending upon the reception they meet, are common in folklore, but this story, although it utilizes certain folk beliefs and customs, appears to be an original one. It is quite enjoyable, and is one I would recommend to picture-book readers seeking titles for Sukkot and/or addressing the importance of generosity to all.
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Original language


Physical description

11.25 inches


0823418936 / 9780823418930

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