Ziz Books

The Hardest Word: a Yom Kippur StoryIllus. by Katherine Janus Kahn
Click to playThe Hardest Word: A Yom Kippur Story

"A long, long time ago the world had many large and fabulous creatures. One of those creatures was a gigantic yellow bird with dark red wings and a purple forehead. He was called the Ziz."

The Ziz, a clumsy but good-hearted bird of folklore, is always making mistakes. When he accidentally destroys a vegetable garden, he flies to Mount Sinai to ask God for advice.

Notable Book for Young Readers, Association of Jewish Libraries, 2001

National Jewish Book Award Finalist, 2002

Broadway World Baltimore Reviews Pumpkin Theatre's Quest of the Ziz Bird

Noah and the ZizIllus. by Katherine Janus Kahn

Click to playNoah and the Ziz

Many children know the bible story of Noah's ark. But do they know who collected the animals for the ark? Noah had to gather leaves for the giraffes, bananas for the monkeys, and hay for the cows. How could he go in one direction to get the pandas and another direction to get the kangaroos?

Noah and the Ziz, by the award-winning author Jacqueline Jules, answers this question by sending the Ziz to the rescue.

The Ziz and the Hanukkah MiracleIllus. by Katherine Janus Kahn

Click to playThe Ziz and the Hanukkah Miracle

Whenever the Ziz has a problem, he goes to Mount Sinai to seek God's advice. In The Ziz and the Hanukkah Miracle, this giant yellow bird has a hard time dealing with the darkness of winter. God gives him an oil lamp, but then asks him to share it. With the personality of an exuberant preschooler, the Ziz finds his task very difficult. The result is a new spin on the Hanukkah story. 

How did the miracle of Hanukkah occur? The story offers no explanation. All we know is that the oil that was supposed to last only one day sustained the Temple menorah for eight wonderful days. Many interpret the story to mean that a little bit of oil burned for eight days. Others interpret it to mean that the cruse used to fill the menorah with oil never became empty.

With no clear explanation, there is room for a midrash--a story which expands on a biblical text by offering details or commentary. A midrash can explain the significance of a single word. Some provide folkloric extensions to the original bible stories. The Ziz and the Hanukkah Miracle is a modern midrash which gives the giant yellow Ziz a pivotal role in the Hanukkah story.

Selected by the Sidney Taylor Book Award Committee for its list of Great Hanukkah Books for Children!

The Princess and the ZizIllus. by Katherine Janus Kahn

Click to playThe Princess and the Ziz

Called on to watch over King Solomon's daughter, the eager Ziz takes the princess on a joyful trip around the world.  But when she falls in love with a handsome young man, the Ziz's jealousy gets the giant bird into trouble in The Princess and the Ziz, the fourth in the series of Ziz adventure stories from the team of Jacqueline Jules and Katherine Janus Kahn.

Based on the legendary character the Ziz, a magnificent bird-like creature from Jewish folklore, the loveable Ziz has his own way of looking at the world, much as young children do!


"Any kid who has ever broken a dish or sent a baseball through a window will identify."-- Children's Literature

"The only thing [The Hardest Word] lacks is an order form for a stuffed Ziz of your own." -- Jerusalem Report

"Written and illustrated with an eye and ear for fun and laughter, The Hardest Word, will captivate the young set." -- Ottawa Jewish Bulletin

"From cover to cover, children will soar high with the plumed, long-legged Ziz." -- Jewish Journal

"This delightful tale, featuring a loveable, klutzy bird teaching the essential lessons of the High Holidays, is just perfect!" -- San Diego Jewish Times

"Combine a simple story about Noah with a mythical 'big bird' character, add expressive, splashy illustrations and you have the makings of a winner…Highly recommended." -- Church and Synagogue Library Association

"Anyone looking for a light-hearted, engaging, and creative take on the story of Noah for preschool and early school-age children will find this book a winner." -- CBA Marketplace.

Jacqueline Jules gives a humorous twist to a well-known Biblical story…Katherine Kahn's bright whimsical pictures are a wonderful match for Jules' zany tale and breathe life into the bold, clumsy Ziz. -- Washington Parent

Children will enjoy Jules' delightful, but very fallible character the Ziz just because he isn't perfect…The Ziz, who already is bigger than life and makes gigantic mistakes, learns from them and becomes a better person because of it...Noah and the Ziz is sure to be a book that little ones will want their parents to read over and over." -- MyShelf.Com

"As always, a visit from the Ziz is a welcome one!  The Princess and the Ziz will delight young children as a picture book shared with their parents or later as a book they could read on their own." -- Janie Franz, MyShelf.com

"I started enjoying The Princess and the Ziz from the very first page . . . . The story is fun to read to little children, and the rich and imaginative illustrations provide tykes with many interesting animals to point to while pronouncing their names." -- Donald H. Harrison, San Diego Jewish World

"[The Princess and the Ziz is] charming and fanciful, with the illustrations as imaginative and appealing as ever, and the clumsy, colorful giant of a bird just as loveable." -- Chicago Jewish Star.

"The fourth book in the Ziz series about a mythical, supersized, lovable, klutz, child-like bird, The Princess and the Ziz incorporates the theme of jealousy and making things right in a dryly humorous story about friendship and love." -- Ottawa Jewish Bulletin.

"Who doesn't like a story about a princess locked in a tower, true love, and a bumbling, if lovable hero?" -- Jewish Book World, Spring 2009.

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