The Rooster Prince of Breslov

The Rooster Prince of Breslov

by Ann Redisch Stampler, Eugene Yelchin
     
 

This picture book brings a light touch and engaging silliness to the story of a prince who rejects the lavish luxury of his upbringing in favor of a life as . . . a rooster. The only person who can persuade the prince to reconsider is neither a doctor nor a magician but a wise teacher who is willing to become a rooster too. Told to the author by her grandmother,

Overview

This picture book brings a light touch and engaging silliness to the story of a prince who rejects the lavish luxury of his upbringing in favor of a life as . . . a rooster. The only person who can persuade the prince to reconsider is neither a doctor nor a magician but a wise teacher who is willing to become a rooster too. Told to the author by her grandmother, who brought it from Eastern Europe a century ago, this traditional tale is accompanied by strikingly witty and graceful illustrations that add their own folkloric flavor. Author's note.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Her [Stampler] witty, dialogue-based storytelling nicely dramatizes such concepts as excess, sufficiency, and the relationship between learning compassion and attaining 'moral authority.'"—Horn Book

"Yelchin's self-satiric figures pitch exaggeratedly forward, the rooster postures comically extreme. Stampler' touching note demonstrates this layered tale' openness to multiple interpretations."—Kirkus, starred review

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
In this version of a Yiddish folktale, a young prince in Breslov is so spoiled that one day he rips off his clothing and insists he is a rooster. The desperate king and queen offer a bag of gold to anyone who can cure him, in vain. But one day an old man promises that given seven days, if they do as he says, he will return the prince to himself. The old man tells the prince that he is also a rooster. Day by day he cleverly manages to tease the prince closer and closer to being human again along with him. On the seventh day, he persuades the prince to enjoy the Sabbath feast. He tells the prince that his considerate treatment of an old rooster has made him a man. Thereafter the prince grows up "to be a fine king." A comic, cartoon-like cast enlivens the tale. Center stage, the long-bearded old man and the red-haired young prince cavort in each day's acceptance of the gradual evolution to human-hood. Along the edges other characters bring the requested items and discuss the progress. Strong black lines in graphite with gouache paint keep the action lively and the moral lesson front and center. A note from the author explains the background, his setting, and his personal relation to the story. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—When the prince rips off his clothes and insists on crouching naked on the floor and crowing like a rooster, the king and queen offer a bag of gold to anyone who can cure him. The doctor, the magicians, and the sorcerers all fail. Yet a frail old man with a very peculiar plan turns the rooster prince into a real mensch, full of compassion and ready to become a wise and benevolent king. Stampler's witty retelling and Yelchin's imaginative, graphite and gouache illustrations bring to life this well-loved Yiddish folktale from Rabbi Nachman of Breslov (1772–1810). Children will enjoy picking up on the visual clues that reveal the old man's plan. An author's note provides background information. With more creativity and humor, the text and illustrations are far superior to Izzi Tooinsky's The Turkey Prince (Viking, 2001) and Sydell Waxman's The Rooster Prince (Pitspopany, 2000). Perfect for reading aloud.—Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL
Kirkus Reviews

This exuberantly rendered Yiddish folktale is bright in hue and spirit. In Breslov lives a prince who has "more than he wanted. When he was hungry for a scrap of bread, he got a slice of cake dripping with honey." One day, he's simply done: He rips off his clothing, squats down and crows like a rooster. He won't speak or eat meals at table. Doctors and magicians fail at cures. Then a bent old man arrives and joins the prince as fellow rooster—also clucking, also naked, sleeping on the cold floor. Step by step, he enlists the boy's previously untapped thoughtfulness ("maybe a nice old rooster could sleep on [a mattress]") to carry them together from rooster habits to a very human Sabbath supper with candles and blessings. Gouache primary colors dominate, given depth by watery pinks, dark greens and black graphite outlines. Yelchin's half-satiric figures pitch exaggeratedly forward, the rooster postures comically extreme. Stampler's touching note demonstrates this layered tale's openness to multiple interpretations. (author's note) (Picture book/folktale. 4-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618989744
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/13/2010
Pages:
30
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD790L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Ann Redisch Stampler is an author and folklorist who has written several picture books based on Jewish folklore. She lives in Los Angeles.

Eugene Yelchin is a Russian-born painter and illustrator. The Rooster Prince of Breslov is his first project for Clarion Books. He lives in California with his family. His web site is www.eugeneyelchinbooks.com.

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