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The Brother's Promise

Overview

A tale of unselfishness and love, based on a story from the Talmud. When Chayim dies, he leaves his rich farm to his two sons, making them promise to share the land and always take care of each other. All goes well until there is a terrible drought and no crops can grow. Josef worries about his brother, who has a family to feed, Yankel worries about his brother, who has no one to help him. But the brothers' love causes a miracle on the parched earth. Full color. 32 pp. Ages ...
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Overview

A tale of unselfishness and love, based on a story from the Talmud. When Chayim dies, he leaves his rich farm to his two sons, making them promise to share the land and always take care of each other. All goes well until there is a terrible drought and no crops can grow. Josef worries about his brother, who has a family to feed, Yankel worries about his brother, who has no one to help him. But the brothers' love causes a miracle on the parched earth. Full color. 32 pp. Ages 6-10. Pub: 3/98.

When the brothers Yankel and Josef keep their promise to their dying father by sharing with one another, they cause the angels in heaven to weep with joy. A retelling of a story found in the Talmud.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"[T]he love the brothers have for one another is clear." -School Library Journal

"Wickstrom's gentle characters bring the simple, lovely sentiment to life in a setting of rolling hills, illuminated by sunlight and candlelight." -Kirkus

"A retelling of the old Talmudic story about how love between brothers can create miracles..." -Children's Literature

"In this traditional Jewish tale, a father dies and leaves his farm to his two sons, who share the farm and look after each other, despite their very different lifestyles -- Yankle is a happily married family man, and Josef is a loner who spends his time reading religious books. When a drought threatens the farm, the brothers independently decide that the other needs whatever food has been saved. In a comic episode, the duo go back and forth delivering food and wondering why they are each winding up with more instead of less. Finally, they run into each other and, in a happy moment of realization, remember their father's words: "When a brother helps a brother, the angels in heaven weep tears of joy." ...Here, the pictures are vigorous both in color and in style of drawing. There's lots of movement in the art, and the pictures capture the story's humor and the worry that comes with farming life." -Booklist

Children's Literature - Judy Chernak
A retelling of the old Talmudic story about how love between brothers can create miracles, this tale is set in turn-of-the-century Eastern Europe rather than in Biblical times and the ending is different from the traditional one, which results in the founding of the city of Jerusalem. Two brothers, contrasting in personality and habits, share their inherited farm uneventfully until tragedy begins to stalk in the form of a drought which depletes their rich treasure of food. Then each one's love and caring for the other, expressed in their delivering wheelbarrows of vegetables to each other under cover of darkness, makes "the angels in heaven weep tears of joy" to end the drought. The pictures are done in sharp contrasts, illustrating the seeming incompatibilities of the brothers: Yankel, the born farmer, with his wife and children and love of music and life, and Josef, who tilled the soil because he must but then retreated to a solitary life with his books and Torah study. Each life has value, we gather; and together men can make miracles.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3This retelling of a favorite Jewish tale from the Talmud is set in turn-of-the-century Eastern Europe. When a father dies, he leaves his farm to his two sons, making them promise to divide the land in half and to always care for one another. The siblings are very different: lighthearted Yankel marries and has a family, and Josef, the serious scholar, does not. When a serious drought brings a shortage of food, each brother remembers his promise and secretly tries to help the other, not realizing that the other is doing the same. In the end, it is as though God were watching and their kindness is rewarded with much-needed rain. Jewish folk sayings are sprinkled throughout the text, and the love the brothers have for one another is clear. The bright, expressive oil paintings feature figures outlined in black, swirling landscapes, and cloud-filled skies. They suit the tone of the story. Florence B. Freedman's Brothers (HarperCollins, 1985; o.p.) and Neil Waldman's The Two Brothers (Atheneum, 1997) both take place in Biblical times. This version complements the others nicely; although the setting is different, the message is not lost, pointing out the timelessness of the tale.Elisabeth Palmer Abarbanel, Brentwood School, Los Angeles
Kirkus Reviews
In a poignant Talmudic tale of companionship, sharing, and respect, two farmer brothers make a promise to their dying father to help each other through life. If they do, their father tells them, "the angels will weep with joy." Although the brothers are markedly differentþmarried Yankel is a bon vivant who enjoys to fiddle and dance, while single Josef prefers to quietly read the holy books at nightþthey get along, and are good-natured about their differences. When hard times hit the farm in the form of a dry spell, their loyalty is tested, and each brother sacrifices his own security to make sure the other has food. The brothers are provided for, courtesy of divine intervention, and the angels do weepþit rains. Wickstrom's gentle characters bring the simple, lovely sentiment to life in a setting of rolling hills, illuminated by sunlight and candlelight. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807509029
  • Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,145,253
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

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