Bachelor and the Bean: A Jewish Moroccan Folk Tale by Shelley Fowles, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Bachelor and the Bean: A Jewish Moroccan Folk Tale
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Bachelor and the Bean: A Jewish Moroccan Folk Tale

by Shelley Fowles
     
 

When a grumpy old bachelor accidentally drops a bean down a well, he rouses an imp. In exchange for the lost bean, the imp offers a magic pot that — much to the bachelor's delight— produces food on command. A jealous old lady steals the pot, and when the bachelor confronts her he finds that she’s just as nasty and unpleasant as he is. She’s

Overview


When a grumpy old bachelor accidentally drops a bean down a well, he rouses an imp. In exchange for the lost bean, the imp offers a magic pot that — much to the bachelor's delight— produces food on command. A jealous old lady steals the pot, and when the bachelor confronts her he finds that she’s just as nasty and unpleasant as he is. She’s stolen his pot . . . will she also steal his heart? Vibrant illustrations, strongly influenced by Moroccan art and architecture, depict this most unlikely love story comprised of simple, amusing text that's easy for young readers to follow.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fowles's debut, which retells a Jewish folktale ("The Old Bachelor Who Lost a Bean," from Pinhas Sadeh's Jewish Folktales), sparkles with lively color but is chockablock with mean-spirited characters. The tale takes place in a Moroccan village, where a white-bearded bachelor buys "a snack of cooked beans in the market." When his last bean slips down a well, he rants and raves, provoking a turbaned, bejeweled "imp" to pop out of the water. "By the hair of my grandmother's beard! It is only a miserable bean!" the djinn gripes, then gives the man a magic pot in recompense. That night, a "jealous old lady" steals the pot for herself, and the bachelor demands a new pot from the grudging imp. Eventually, the man confronts the thief, with unexpected results; as they snipe at each other, a dove, cupid and Valentine's heart bloom in the pink sky. "Such a nasty temper! Such awful manners.... What a wonderful woman!" the bachelor thinks. They marry, "[a]nd from then on, I am happy to say, their quarrels could be heard from one end of town to the other!" Fowles uses deeply saturated hues of Mediterranean blue, aqua, fuchsia and gold to depict the town's kaleidoscopic mosaic tiles, stained glass and picturesque adobe dwellings; the characters wear flowing, patterned robes. Her exoticized portrait of a surly man and a dishonest woman leaves a bitter taste, however, and a wish for a more enlightened depiction of marriage and Moroccan life. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
This delightful tale of Middle Eastern origin has similarities to stories from other cultures but has a unique happy ending. When a grumpy old bachelor demands back from an imp the bean he dropped down a well, he receives instead a magic pot, which produces whatever food he requests. He gladly shares with his neighbors. But one jealous old woman secretly takes the pot and leaves a substitute. The old man goes back to complain to the imp, who gives him an even better one. The woman steals this one as well. When the imp gives him a final pot, showing the woman as the thief, the bachelor goes angrily to confront her. The conclusion is a surprise. Fowles's palette exploits the warm North African hues, the fabric patterns that hint of the region, and suggestions of the architecture. The highly stylized, colored line, active drawings with contextual details are meant for laughs. The end papers filled with a multitude of decorative images provide a most appealing introduction. Sources are noted. 2003, Farrar Straus and Giroux,
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-A grumpy old bachelor drops a bean down a well inhabited by an imp. To stop his complaints, the imp gives him a magic pot that produces food on command. The bachelor's jealous neighbor steals the vessel and its replacement. A third pot reveals the thief's identity to the bachelor. But when he confronts the nasty old lady, he realizes that he has found a woman as bad-tempered as he, and their marriage results in a "quarreling ever after" conclusion. Loosely based on a Jewish folktale, the story is set in Morocco. The full-color, bright illustrations offer some sense of locale; the use of patterns in clothing design and in the borders for text blocks adds visual interest, and viewers can also follow the activities of the bachelor's dog. This is an acceptable addition for large folktale collections, but neither plot developments nor illustrations are compelling enough to make the book a first purchase.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fowles illustrates her first picture book, a magic-pot variant, with luminous watercolors that simply glow on the page like stained glass. In a straightforward narrative, she tells of a very grumpy bachelor who complains about a missing bean long enough that an imp gives him a magic pot--a pot that produces unlimited quantities of a tasty stew with almonds and raisins. As in many other magic-pot stories, the pot is stolen. A second pot that produces beautiful glasses and vases is stolen as well. A third pot is filled with water that reflects the image of the thief--a jealous old woman. The bachelor goes to demand the return of his pots, but he finds the old lady so disagreeable, ill-tempered, and with such awful manners that he decides they would make a great couple. He proposes marriage and she agrees. From that day forward, their quarrels are heard all over town. Fowles retells this Jewish-Moroccan tale with a twist of humor, enormous splashes of color, and a finale that has the couple marrying under a huppah. End pages are a color riot of blocks filled with images from the interior of the book. Beautiful vases and bowls grace a lavish wedding table. A much-used theme with a clever twist that will bring smiles during each reading. (Picture book/folktale. 4-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781845070205
Publisher:
Frances Lincoln Children's Books
Publication date:
02/28/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 11.50(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Shelly Fowles was born in South Africa and lives in London, England. This is her first book.

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