Feathers

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The so-called wise men of the fools' village of Chelm, the site of so many Yiddish folktales, convene once again to solve another community calamity. This time the bathhouse has burned down and there are no funds to rebuild it. The wise men travel to outlying villages and receive contributions from their neighbors. Afraid that they will be robbed on their way home, they exchange the money for lots and lots of feathers, fling the feathers into the wind and wait--and wait--for them to float back to Chelm. Gordon's forceful writing has all the cadences of a seasoned storyteller, while Dabcovich's ( Ducks Fly ) punchy pen-and-ink and pencil art recalls the cheery mayhem of Margot Zemach and the spontaneity of James Stevenson. A tickler. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)
Stephanie Zvirin
Basing her spirited yarn on Jewish folktales remembered from childhood and on translations she did in library school, Gordon re-creates the legendary town of Chelm, renowned for its "wise men filled with foolishness." When the town bathhouse burns to the ground, a group of Chelm's bravest citizens goes in search of donations to rebuild the structure. Everywhere people are generous, and soon the Chelmites have enough money to accomplish their task. But the travelers fear robbers, and invoking that special logic for which their town is so famous, they exchange their coins for feathers and send home their fortune in the arms of the wind. Dabcovich's cartoonlike colored pencil and ink-line illustrations play gleefully with perspective, and their comic chaos is just right for the delightful idiocy that marks the tale. Gordon's use of repetition and reversal makes the text a natural for reading aloud, and her explanation of Chelm's creation, presented in the book's first few pages, will give children a bit of context for appreciating this and other folktales that focus on the town and its earnest, laughable citizenry.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780027365115
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/30/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years

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