Explore the Jewish holidays with Mazel the mouse | VailDaily.com

Explore the Jewish holidays with Mazel the mouse

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado

Mazel the Mouse gets a guided tour through the Jewish holidays in Evergreen author Nancy Larner’s new children’s book, “A Mouse in the Rabbi’s Study.”

The book, which is ilustrated by Woodland Park pastel artist Pegi Ballenger, includes a CD dramatization of the story with holiday songs performed by Daniel Stellini.

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

“I got the idea for the book when the High Holidays were coming and our house was suddenly inundated with mice,” Larner said, laughing.

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 delightful relationship becomes increasingly close and warm throughout a year of Jewish holidays and gives Mazel a Jewish education, along with tastes of challah, latkes, hamantashen and other holiday leftovers.

Larner was teaching religious school at Congregation Beth Evergreen while writing the story, and she read the manuscript to her students. Their enthusiastic response encouraged her to create the hardbound book. She then enlisted Stellini, former music teacher and cantorial soloist for the congregation, to contribute his talents to a CD.

“The book is aimed primarily at children in kindergarten through second grade, but the story is educational for youngsters of any age, as well as for adults interested in learning about Judaism,” Larner said.

“The Mouse in the Rabbi’s Study” is available through Larner’s Web site, http://www.songsparrowpress.com and at the Bookworm of Edwards for $19.95.

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