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Kibitzers and Fools: Tales My Zayda Told Me
ISBN: 9780670059553
Author: Taback, Simms
Publisher: Viking Books
Published: September 2005
Retail: $16.99    OUR PRICE: $2.99
     You Save 82%
Binding Type: Library Binding
Annotation: With Old World charm, universal humor, and just a bit of chutzpah, Caldecott Medalist Simms Taback offers this lively spin on 13 playful tales which illustrates universal truths and important life lessons. Full color.
Additional Information
Physical Information: 0.42" H x 11.24" L x 8.84" W 40 pages
Bargain Category: Myths & Legends, Picture Books, Religious, Upper Elementary
Grade level(s): PreK, Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, 3rd
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2005 #5)
Taback adapts thirteen well-known Eastern European tales and laces them with Yiddish words and their meanings to give the tales a flavor even a shlemiel (a fool) could appreciate. Taback's affection for Yiddish is clear from the introduction; he encourages readers to recognize the pervasiveness of Yiddish in English and to experiment with including Yiddish in their own conversations. The brightly colored pages are filled with gently caricatured bearded peasants, babushka-ed women, and winsome children. Occasional collaged pieces -- a piece of matzo, a fabric patch, photographs of real people with pink-tinted cheeks -- further enliven the pages. Each tale concludes with a succinct, humorous saying that sums up its essence. More silly-but-true sayings decorate the endpapers of this spirited collection. Mazel tov! Copyright 2005 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2005 August #2)
Life, of course, is a fountain," says a rabbi to a boychik who has sought the meaning of life. "Life is a fountain?" replies narrator Yankel, exhausted after his arduous quest for an answer. "Why is life a fountain?" The rabbi ponders, while standing on his head. "OK," the rabbi says. "So life is not a fountain." With this and a dozen other stories-told to Yankel by his zayda (grandfather)-Caldecott Medalist Taback (Joseph Had a Little Overcoat) offers readers something perhaps more valuable than chicken soup for the soul; call it chopped liver for the heart. With enormous affection for his Yiddishkeit heritage, Taback introduces youngsters to the wry wit, down-to-earth wisdom and evocative vocabulary of Jewish Eastern Europeans (the final page is a glossary of primo Yiddishisms such as "shmendrik [ a dope]"). The world depicted in these stories of kibitzers ("busybodies"), rebbes ("rabbis") and people with names like Mendel and Shmul may seem long ago and far away to many readers. But the stories' warmhearted silliness, combined with Taback's characteristically irrepressible drawing style, easily transcends the boundaries of time and ethnicities. As long as there is "So much mishegas in the world," as a headline of one character's Yiddish Post proclaims (one of the many visual asides that make Taback's books so delightful), these tales will never be stale. Mazel tov, Taback! Ages 3-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2005 October)

Gr 3-6 -These 13 tales range in humor from slapstick to ridiculous to poignant. Each story includes a Yiddish word or two followed by a simple translation and ends with a saying, e.g., "Not every thought is worth expressing"; "Everyone has his own craziness." The detail-filled cartoon illustrations include an occasional piece of realism-a tidbit of matzo; a snippet of cloth; little faces cut from photographs, with beards, hats, and rosy cheeks painted on; pieces of patterned paper that form a scarf or trim clothing. The stories take place in the small Jewish villages that existed in Eastern Europe during the late-19th- and early-20th centuries. Mixed-media paintings with predominantly gold backgrounds, type that looks hand printed, and a riot of color and pattern on each expertly designed page offer strong visual appeal. A glossary of Yiddish words is included. Some of the humor is a bit sophisticated, especially for those who have no background to which they can relate the stories. Libraries in synagogues and Jewish secular schools will want to purchase this collection, as will public libraries in areas where there is interest in Jewish literature.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

[Page 130]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.