Gr 2-5-This retelling of an 18th-century tale attributed to Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev explores the cruel and uncontrollable nature of gossip. The book opens with a poem. Appearing before a wise rabbi, a woman who has damaged the reputation of another insincerely vows to make amends: "`I will take back my words-.'" The rabbi, fearing that she has not learned her lesson, instructs her to gather all the feathers released into the wind from a feather pillow. Forest's retelling is simple and elegant, using some dialogue and spare descriptions. Cutch'n's bright watercolor illustrations fill in the Eastern European setting well, using varying and fresh perspectives. Brightly colored feathers play prominently across the pages. The artist's style is rich in detail, but her people appear somewhat wooden. Still, this is an entertaining tale, ably retold, with a timeless lesson.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Drawn from her Wisdom Tales from Around the World (1996), this musical but sketchy rendition of an Eastern European tale-in which a Rabbi shows an insufficiently repentant gossip the error of her ways by instructing her to cut open his pillow and then gather back all its feathers-gets a confusing and amateurish set of illustrations from Cutchin. Not only will children have trouble tracking the gossip's accuser, who changes clothes between one scene and the next, they won't get much sense of verisimilitude from either the brightly colored festival dress in which some figures are clad, or the equally garishly hued feathers that spill from the Rabbi's pillow. Furthermore, though those figures' postures are expressive, their expressions tend to be exaggerated, and their faces and hands awkwardly modeled. Stick with Joan Rothenberg's more developed version, Yettele's Feathers (1995). (Picture book/folktale. 6-9)