Search for the Shamir

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Product Details

$6.99  $6.50
Kar-Ben Publishing (R)
Publish Date
5.0 X 7.4 X 0.5 inches | 0.4 pounds

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About the Author

Author Eric A. Kimmel is well known for the tales he has retold from around the world. Some of his best-known titles are Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (a Caldecott Honor book), Gershon's Monster, Anansi and the Talking Melon, and The Runaway Tortilla. A former professor of children's literature, he lives in Portland, Oregon.
Ivica Stevanovic has illustrated numerous picture books, as well as book covers and graphic novels. He lives in Veternik, Serbia, with his wife, who is also a children's illustrator, and their daughter.


"Eric Kimmel has given us another educational monster/demon book. Think Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (Holiday House, 1994) in ancient Israel. This second book in the Scarlet and Sam series sends the time traveling twins to Jerusalem during the time of King Solomon. They travel on Grandma Mina's flying carpet. King Solomon and the Prophet Nathan brought them to help Solomon build the Temple. We see the wisdom of Solomon in the story of the baby which two mothers claim. The Prophet Nathan explains that a prophet is not a fortune teller. Solomon can't build the temple because the Kingdom has no money and according to Jewish law, his builders can't use tools to build the holy temple because metal is used to build weapons of war. They need to find the Shamir, an insect mentioned in the midrash that can cut through stone. In searching for the Shamir they must outwit Ashmedai (Asmodeus), The King of the Demons. Sam and Scarlett frequently share lessons that they learned in Hebrew School with their ancient hosts. The Author's Note at the end of the book explains midrash, Solomon's Temple, and the Jewish view of demons. The very detailed black and white illustrations help to place the story in ancient times. The lifting of the lid with Solomon's magic ring shows children what a covered well for water looked like. The plot is a little unrealistic but the humor and asides will engage all readers, especially the references to modern technology. What child doesn't want to travel back in time and help to determine the future?" - Association of Jewish Libraries

--Other Print

"Scarlett and Sam are off again (Escape from Egypt, 2015) on Grandma Mina's magic flying carpet, this time to ancient Jerusalem.There they meet King Solomon, who is new on the job, overseeing an impoverished Israel. They immediately witness the event that will define this wise king, as he mediates two women's dispute over a baby. He has been commanded by God to build a temple without using iron tools but does not have other means to cut the stones. The Jewish twins find themselves involved in a quest to find the shamir, a creature that can cut stones just by looking at them. With guard captain B.Z. (short for Benayahu ben Yehoiada), the prophet Nathan, and Solomon's ring, which holds the power of God, they find the demon Ashmodai who is holding the shamir. Dangers, duplicity, and acts of courage ensue, and they triumph. While the ancient characters do not know what the future holds (with one odd exception), Scarlett and Sam have learned in Hebrew school of the people and events of the Torah, as well as the midrashim, the stories and legends that complement the Torah. Kimmel takes a nontraditional approach, employing 21st-century syntax and sensibilities for all the characters, making the tale accessible for modern readers, whatever their religions. Stevanovic's manga-like gray-toned illustrations nicely merge the ancient with the contemporary. A lively combination of ancient history, religion, and thrilling magic. (author's note) (Historical fantasy. 8-12)" - Kirkus Reviews


"Biblical timetravelling is the mission of Scarlett and Sam, in Search for the Shamir by Eric A. Kimmel (Kar-Ben, £5.50). They journey to the time of Solomon and witness his wisdom -- although they are bemused at his fancy-dress appearance. Solomon needs to build a Temple but may not use war-like metal tools to cut the stone. The answer is a shamir, a creature that cuts stone by gaze alone. Can the twins find one? Age six to nine." - The Jewish Chronicle


"Twins Scarlett and Sam are off on another adventure; this time, their destination is King Solomon's kingdom. They arrive to find the young king with no money and a dictum from God to build a temple. Despite Solomon's reputed wisdom for solving all problems, building the temple seems impossible. It has to be built without iron, which is considered a tool of war. Without iron, who will be strong enough to cut the giant stones and install them in the necessary places?
Nathan, the prophet, appears on the scene ready to receive messages from God that can help Solomon. Unfortunately, his visions are murky and Scarlett and Sam must use their ingenuity to interpret them.
The twins, Solomon, and Nathan work as a team and discover that finding the shamir, a one-of-a-kind insect that can cut stone, will solve their problem. Nathan's vision assures them that Ashmodai, king of the demons, has the shamir. The time-traveling twins' courage, initiative, and dedication make them uniquely suited to help wrest the shamir from this unwilling demon.
Following the twists and turns of the plot is delightful, and humorous allusions from the present time are inserted with comic effect. The black and white drawings add to the story's atmosphere. With excellent messages (evil doesn't win; those who use careful observation and intelligence do) and lots of humor, this book is recommended for readers ages 7 to 12." - Jewish Book Council