Showing posts with the label Folktale

Review: Rebbe Nachman's The Lost Princess

Rebbe Nachman's The Lost Princess retold and illustrated by Jessica Tamar Deutsch Somewhere (imprint of Ayin Press), 2024 Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Marcia Rosenthal Buy at The Lost Princess is an imaginative tale by Rebbe Nachman, retold and illustrated by Jessica Tamar Deutsch. In a moment of fury, a king exiles his only daughter. The following morning, he is consumed with regret, only to discover the princess is nowhere to be found. The viceroy steps up to help the distraught king and embarks on a long journey to find the princess. The viceroy comes upon a castle, where he discovers the princess is captive in the Kingdom of Evil. She can only be freed if he successfully fulfills a year-long test of solitude. He fails. The princess is moved to another castle, and the viceroy resumes his quest. He encounters friendly bear giants and wind-keepers and asks for their help. Ultimately, the viceroy rescues the princess, but how that occurs is not revealed in the s

Review: The Peddler and the Baker

The Peddler and the Baker by Yael Molchadsky, illustrated by Liora Grossman Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Sandy Wasserman Buy at Beautiful book with a powerful message, with the text and illustrations flowing along like instruments in a concert, each enhancing the other. 'The best things in life are free,' words often said, though in this book this message leaps out to both the poor skinny peddler and the stout baker. The message comes through clearly to the reader as it does to the children who peer and eavesdrop from the staircase in the wise rabbi's house as he gives his decree on the situation presented to him: Do we need to pay for what our senses offer up to us in this world, including the wafting aroma of freshly baking bread? A book to read over and over to remind us of all that we can enjoy in life that is free in the world. The illustrations in this book take us a journey all on their own, with glorious endpapers of baking tools. A tale of simple

Review: A Crowded Farmhouse Folktale

A Crowded Farmhouse Folktale by Karen Rostoker-Gruber, illustrated by Kristina Swarner Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Karin Fisher-Golton Buy at A Crowded Farmhouse Folktale holds its space beautifully in a somewhat crowded field of picture book retellings of the Yiddish folktale known as “It Could Always Be Worse” or “The Overcrowded House.” The tale has been retold many times for good reason. The message that happiness derives from perception is timeless, and one that we humans seem to need to be reminded of again and again. In the tale, the lesson is taught in humorous fashion by a wise person—typically a rabbi, but in this telling a wise woman—asking the inhabitants of the crowded house to bring in more people and/or animals, so that when they return to the usual number of inhabitants, the house seems comparatively roomy. Author Karen Rostoker-Gruber sets this picture book version on a farm—an engaging setting for her young audience. She uses repetition and rhyme,

Review: Such a Library!: A Yiddish Folktale Reimagined

Such a Library! A Yiddish Folktale Reimagined by Jill Ross Nadler, illustraed by Esther van den Berg  Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Rachel J. Fremmer Just as it says in its subtitle, Such a Library! is a reimagining of the old Yiddish folktale about a man whose house is too crowded. His rabbi’s solution? Make the house even more crowded. Then, when all the additional visitors leave, the house seems spacious by comparison. Here, the librarian takes the place of the rabbi. A little boy, Stevie, complains that just the noise of the computer keys and the voice of the storyteller are too loud. When he uses metaphors (“it’s like a zoo in here!” ;“it’s like a circus in here!”), the punnily named librarian Miss Understood takes him literally, opens an apparently magic book, and releases the denizens of a zoo, a circus and so forth. When they are finally returned to the pages of their book, the boy appreciates the relative silence. This is a charming story and the fact that th

Review: The Generous Fish

The Generous Fish by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Frances Tyrrell Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Ruth Horowitz When Reuven follows his father’s advice to cast his bread on the waters, he ends up feeding a fish, who repays him with one of his golden scales. Reuven’s needy neighbors see the golden scale and for scales of their own. The fish gives and gives, until he has only one scale left, and is barely alive. Finally, Reuven tells his neighbors they have taken too much. The neighbors restore the fish to health with soup and honey, and thank Reuven for reminding them that all creatures are important. The message here – not to take too much from nature – is a welcome alternative to The Giving Tree. And it’s great to see this message presented to a general audience in the context of Jewish values. Jules’ writing is lively, engaging, and age-appropriate. Although Tyrell’s figures are sometimes stiff, the art is a feast for the eyes, especially the inset mini-illustrations