Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyTen Yiddish folktales set in 19th-century Ukraine star a witty nomad, famous for sayings like "God must love poor people. Why else would He make so many of them?" Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Jan LiebermanMeet Hershel of Ostropol, a fool or a wise man? That's for you to decide when you read these rich, witty stories. Hershel's sayings explain him best of all: "God must love poor people. Why else would He make so many of them? Better a whole lie than a half-truth. How to get rid of someone for good: If he's rich, ask to borrow money. If he's poor, lend him some." Add some merriment to your life and your children's-read a story a day. You don't have to be Jewish to appreciate Hershel; he is universal.
Children's Literature - Judy SilvermanHershel actually lived in the last century, and stories about him have become folktales of a Jewish trickster. He's never evil, and often is laughed at for a fool. But Hershel is no fool, and stories about him have lasted for generations. When you're in the mood for a good laugh, try Hershel of Ostropol.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 5-9-Ten superbly retold Hershel of Ostropol tales, many of which are unavailable in popular collections. In ``What Hershel's Father Did,'' Kimmel resurrects Hershel's reputation from that presented in Jacqueline D. Greene's What His Father Did (Houghton, 1992). ``Money from a Table'' and ``The Candlesticks'' are variations on a similar scheme: taking advantage of a miser's greed. ``Potatoes!'' is similar to Vicky Shiefman's Sunday Potatoes, Monday Potatoes (S.&S, 1994); but where that version is sweet, Kimmel's is ironic. The funniest tale by far is ``The Miracle,'' a commentary on the misplaced values of a community that has money to pay for a burial, but not for keeping a starving family alive. ``An Incredible Story'' and ``The Cow'' play out the tricky relationships between the Jews of Eastern Europe and their Christian neighbors, both nobles and peasants alike. ``The Cow'' is similar to Isaac Bashevis Singer's story of the goat that didn't give milk. A black-and-white vignette adorns each selection. The book closes with more of Hershel's sayings, redolent with Yiddish humor.-Marcia W. Posner, Holocaust Memorial and Educational Center of Nassau County, Glen Cove, NY
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