Invisible Kingdoms: Jewish Tales of Angels, Spirits, and Demons

Invisible Kingdoms: Jewish Tales of Angels, Spirits, and Demons

by Schwartz
     
 

Come to a world where angels, ghosts, and demons walk amongst the living and anything is possible. Here, in nine tales of the supernatural, invisible creatures take shape and roam the earth to aid or interfere in the lives of humans. A magic staff makes a man see ghosts, a handsome demon tricks a village girl into marriage, and an angel directs a young man through

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Overview

Come to a world where angels, ghosts, and demons walk amongst the living and anything is possible. Here, in nine tales of the supernatural, invisible creatures take shape and roam the earth to aid or interfere in the lives of humans. A magic staff makes a man see ghosts, a handsome demon tricks a village girl into marriage, and an angel directs a young man through a dangerous venture — in the guise of a goat!

Howard Schwartz's vibrant retelling of mystical Jewish folktales is full of magic and wonder. The stories span many centuries and range in origin from Middle East to Eastern Europe. Weather you believe in angels, ghosts, and demons is for you to decide, but not before you enter these invisible kingdoms and step into a world where the impossible takes shape and anything can happen!


About the Author
Author Bio
Howard Schwartz has edited three collections of Jewish folklore: Elijah's Violin & Other Jewish Fairy Tales, Miriam's Tambourine: Jewish Folktales from Around the World, and Lilith's Cave: Jewish Tales of the Supernatural. Mr. Schwartz lives in St. Louis, MO.

Barbara Rush has edited Jews of Kurdistan and Seventy and One Tales for the Jewish Year: Folktales for the Festivals. She lives on Long Island, NY.

Illustrator BioUri Shulevitz has illustrated The Fool of the World & the Flying Ship: A Russian Tale, retold by Arthur Ransome, for which he received the 1969 Caldecott Medal. He lives in New York, NY.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Schwartz (The Day the Rabbi Disappeared: Jewish Holiday Tales of Magic) continues to explore mystical elements of Jewish folklore with nine tales from various regions and periods. Some recombine staple themes of fairy tales, as in "The Angel's Daughter," from Bukhara, wherein the youngest of seven sons embarks on a perilous quest to win the hand of a princess. Others more clearly incorporate Jewish teachings. In the Eastern European "A Roomful of Ghosts," for example, a wise rabbi with a magic staff ("like that of Moses") sends a boy to a cemetery to guide a seemingly doomed spirit to the grave of a miserly man; in begging a ruble from him, she permits him to perform an act of charity and save his soul, and thus she saves her own. Not all the entries are tightly edited, however, and some feel episodic rather than organic. This collection also lacks the interpretive framework that gave such depth to The Day the Rabbi Disappeared. These caveats aside, the writing feels steeped in color and can be easily enjoyed by a nonsectarian audience. Fieser (previously paired with Schwartz for The Sabbath Lion) enhances the book's innate appeal with dynamic full-page illustrations in radiant tones. His style is mostly representational (angels, for example, look like people with wings), reflecting the storyteller's equal emphasis on the natural and the supernatural. Ages 8-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-This collection of nine folktales from many sources reflects the tone and quality of the genre quite effectively. The writing is lovely and fluid, with enough formality to capture the traditional style while still being accessible to young readers. In one story, a rabbi talks to ghosts and sends a curious young boy to the cemetery to help put souls to rest. In another tale, a baby is born with a memory of his past life so that he may finish telling a story he began then. And in a third, a boy ends up in the demon's realm and escapes with the help of the demon princess. Engaging and interesting, the pieces are not overly religious, and they have appeal for readers of many different faiths. Fieser's occasional full-page, full-color scenes are for the most part realistic and enhance the text. The use of the word rabbi to describe several people, including a musician and a driver, may confuse some children, and the font is a bit narrow and hard on the eyes, but as a whole this is a worthwhile addition.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ghosts, demons, spirits, and angels populate these tales gathered from Jewish folklore around the world. In one, a baby born with the ability to speak has an unfinished tale to tell from his previous life as a storyteller. The neighbors and a host of angels fill the house to hear the baby's wondrous tale. When he finishes, the angel Lailah touches him above his lips, making him forget everything he knew in his previous life, including how to speak. In another, a river demon tricks a young girl into marrying him, but a court of rabbis defeats the demon's logic and the girl is released from her vow. In "The Angel's Sword," a feisty rabbi not only finagles his way into Paradise without the usual step of dying, he manages to steal the Angel of Death's sword. There are plenty of ghosts and graveyards here, and a cloak of invisibility, too. Like most folk and fairy tales, there is something very satisfying in the way everything turns out right in the end. The stories are weighed down by unnecessary verbiage-a common problem with writing in a folkloric or mythic style. Schwartz (The Day the Rabbi Disappeared, 2000, etc.) is a serious folklorist and his source notes explain the origin of each tale. Some of Fieser's (The Silk Route, 1995) illustrations, for example the one for "The Angel's Daughter," are reminiscent of the soft, but heroic drawings of D'Aulaire. A welcome addition to the genre. (Folklore. 8-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060278557
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/01/2002
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
80
Product dimensions:
7.34(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
8 Years

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