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Feivel's Flying Horses

Feivel's Flying Horses

by Heidi Smith Hyde, Johanna Van Der Sterre (Illustrator)

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—As the chief apprentice in Mr. Nathanson's Coney Island carousel shop, Feivel lovingly remembers his wife and children in the old country as he designs and carves wooden horses. He creates a glorious horse with a long, golden mane for his wife, Goldie; a proud, regal beast for his eldest son, Hershel; a gentle creature whose bridle is etched with deer for his son Shmuel; a lively and graceful horse adorned with flowers and ribbons for his daughter Sasha; and a beautiful pony ornamented with hundreds of glittering glass jewels for his baby, Lena. By the time the carousel is complete, Fievel has earned enough money to bring his family to America. When they are finally reunited, the happy family rides the carousel together. The historical note details the contributions of eastern European Jewish immigrants, once wood carvers of synagogue arks and Torah scrolls, who used their talent to create magnificent carousel horses enjoyed by generations of children. Watercolor illustrations with ink lines illustrate the immigrant experience on New York's Lower East Side in the late 1800s and help bring to life the magic of Coney Island. Like this team's Mendel's Accordion (Lerner, 2007), this story celebrates the richness of the Jewish American experience.—Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL
Publishers Weekly
The team responsible for Mendel's Accordion (2007) again shines a light on a small but significant corner of the late 19th-century Jewish immigrant experience. Feivel, like many immigrants, has come to America alone, with dreams of making enough money to send for his family to follow. In the Old Country, Feivel carved magnificent arks for synagogues; on the Lower East Side, his talent is put to more prosaic use, creating furniture and the occasional ladies' comb. But on a trip to Coney Island, Feivel discovers a new calling as a carver of carousel horses (a historical note offers information about Feivel's real-life counterparts). One could argue that Hyde and van der Sterre put too much gloss on the immigrant experience: readers get little sense of Feivel's inner life, and the ink and watercolor pictures make the Lower East Side and Coney Island look like they've been subjected to a Jewish mother's relentless scrubbing. But once the story shifts to the carousel workshop, and the elaborate, lyrical horses take center stage, the redemptive powers of faith, family, and creativity coalesce into a touching tale. Ages 5–9. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Feivel must leave his wife and four children behind when he emigrates from the Old Country to America around the turn of the 20th century. A skilled woodcarver, he finds work as a furniture maker. One day, on an outing to Coney Island, Feivel discovers the wonder of the carousel, along with a sign that a woodcarver is wanted. To his delight, he is hired to carve the horses for the next Coney Island carousel. Singing as he works, he carves a horse that reminds him of each member of the family he left behind. He works hard, rests on the Sabbath, prays in the synagogue, and finishes each horse with the name carved in tiny letters. After three years the carousel is ready. But now that he has saved enough money to bring his family to America, Feivel will wait for the joy of riding the carousel with his family. There is almost a folk art quality to the lively, detailed, single- and double-page ink-and-watercolor scenes. The characters are realistic in their actions; the settings reflect New York and the masses of immigrants of the time. A note adds factual historic background. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews
When Feivel, an experienced wood carver, arrives in New York from the old country, he is introduced to the wonders of Brooklyn's new Coney Island amusement park, where he gains employment with the carousel company, making the transition from carving "the fearsome lions that guarded the holy arks in synagogues" in Europe to carousel horses. Over the course of three years he works hard to help create the magnificently ornate wooden horses while earning enough to send for his family. Van der Sterre's ink-lined, full-bleed watercolors of women in long skirts and bonnets accompanied by mustachioed men delineate a wondrous late-19th-century Luna Park with a behind-the-scenes look at artisan craftsmanship in a classic workshop. Hyde adds emotion to her simply told tale with Feivel's loving creation of horse after horse, naming each for his children and their mother. An attractive and unusual look at both a Jewish immigrant's story and a disappearing pastime and trade. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

Kar-Ben Publishing
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Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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