Mazel the Mouse gets a guided tour through the Jewish holidays in Evergreen author Nancy Larners new childrens book, A Mouse in the Rabbis Study.
Illustrated by Woodland Park pastel artist Pegi Ballenger, the book 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.
I got the idea for the book when the High Holidays were coming and our house was suddenly inundated with mice, Larner recalled with a laugh.
While dealing with the emergency, the longtime early childhood educator began to imagine what would happen if a mouse found its way into a rabbis 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 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, Larner said, but the story is educational for youngsters of any age, as well as for adults interested in learning about Judaism.
A Mouse in the Rabbis Study is available through Larners website, www.songsparrowpress.com. The author will be signing books today, June 6, 5-7 p.m., at Hearthfire Books.