Written by Nancy Larner Illustrated by Pegi Ballenger
Crossing the Red Sea

Mazel the Mouse gets a guided tour through the Jewish holidays in Evergreen, Colorado, author Nancy Larner’s captivating new illustrated children’s book.

A Mouse in the Rabbi's Study

The weather is turning cool and a mouse, who is looking for a place to spend the winter, makes his way into the synagogue. When the rabbi discovers him, they strike a bargain. Since the somewhat plump Rabbi Saltzman enjoys eating while he works, he often makes a mess with crumbs that rain all over his desk and onto the floor. If the mouse, who the rabbi names Mazel (luck), will keep his study tidy, he can stay. As the weeks and months go by, Rabbi Saltzman teaches Mazel about the Jewish holidays and the special food associated with each. Because they have become good friends, by spring both rabbi and mouse are sad to part. Then there's a great surprise ending!

The inspiration for the project came from a minor household disaster.

I got the idea for the book when the High Holidays were coming and our house was suddenly inundated with mice...

While dealing with the emergency, the longtime early childhood educator began to imagine what would happen if a mouse found its way into a rabbi’s study at Rosh Hashanah. The rabbi she invented likes to eat at his desk and enlists the aid of the mouse, whom he dubs Mazel, to clean up his crumbs. Their humorous relationship extends through a year of Jewish holidays and gives Mazel a Jewish education, along with tastes of challah, latkes, hamantashen and other holiday leftovers.

Beautifully illustrated by Colorado pastel artist Pegi Ballenger, the book includes a CD dramatization of the story interspersed with holiday songs performed by Daniel Stellini. While the warm-hearted story is aimed primarily at children in kindergarten through third grade, the story is educational and entertaining for youngsters of any age, as well as for adults interested in learning about Judaism.

Reading Level: Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Length: 36 pages
ISBN: 978-0981465401
Dimensions: 11.25" x 8.25" x 0.38"
Weight: 13.5 ounces