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Solomon and the Ant: And Other Jewish Folktales
     

Solomon and the Ant: And Other Jewish Folktales

by Sheldon Oberman (Retold by), Peninnah Schram (Introduction)
 

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A treasure trove of forty-three religious, wisdom, riddle, and trickster Jewish folktales that have been told near the hearth, at the table, and in the synagogue for centuries. Sheldon Oberman, a master storyteller, retells the tales with simplicity and grace, making them perfect for performing and reading aloud. Peninnah Schram, herself an acclaimed storyteller

Overview

A treasure trove of forty-three religious, wisdom, riddle, and trickster Jewish folktales that have been told near the hearth, at the table, and in the synagogue for centuries. Sheldon Oberman, a master storyteller, retells the tales with simplicity and grace, making them perfect for performing and reading aloud. Peninnah Schram, herself an acclaimed storyteller and folklorist, provides lively notes and commentary that examine the meaning of each tale and its place in history.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The stories, wonderful for storytelling and sharing, are accessible even to listeners younger than the target audience, and the notes and commentary will provide older children with context and history." --Booklist

"A gold mine for storytellers and educators alike." --School Library Journal

"Storytellers, librarians, teachers, parents, writers, and illustrators - rejoice! . . . In an introduction that alone is worth the price of the book, Peninnah Schram discusses the characteristics of Jewish folklore and calls this book, Oberman's last one, his legacy. Everything that a collection of folklore should have is here. Before each story, there are brief introductory remarks that supply background, historical setting, or thematic content. The stories themselves are fairly short, from a paragraph to a few pages, and they beg to be told to children. . . . Following each story is a note by Oberman, additional commentary written by Schram, plus sources and variants, and motif numbers from the Israel Folktale Archives (IFA). These sections are invaluable resources for adults, whose understanding of each story and Jewish folklore in general will be increased by reading them. . . . The fact that many of these stories have not been retold and illustrated for children should be an inspiration to writers and illustrators! . . . This book is [Oberman's] crowning achievement and indeed, a legacy to everyone who cherishes Jewish stories." --Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

Publishers Weekly
Storyteller, actor, writer and teacher Sheldon Oberman passed away in 2004, but he asked his colleague Peninnah Schram to help him complete Solomon and the Ant: And Other Jewish Folktales. Shram introduces and comments on the origins of the 43 folktales, some of which will be new to readers, others of which will be familiar, such as a quartet of Chelm tales and "The Smell of Money" (in which wise Solomon allows a greedy baker to hear the jingle of money in exchange for the aroma of his bread, enjoyed by a passerby). Shram includes a list of sources, and commentary often drawing upon the teachings of the Talmud. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
This is a wonderful book of short stories told by one master storyteller and introduced by another well-known folklorist. But it is not just the stories that are wonderful—the commentaries and extra notes are, too. They contain "wisdom and truth for all times." When there are variants of a story that come from cultures other than European Jewish, those cultures are enumerated. The story called "Enough" exists in versions from Turkey, Tunis, Aleppo, Morocco, and Egypt, as well as Poland and other Eastern European countries. This book is not written in a secular style; for readers who are not familiar with certain customs in the writing style of observant Jews, it may be odd and/or difficult to read. For instance, the phrases, "Elijah the Prophet, may he be remembered for good," or "the Holy One, Blessed be He," may not "scan" in your way of thinking, but they soon sound quite natural. Finding readers for this book may be difficult for a couple of reasons. Except for the one on the cover, there are no illustrations, so very young children who cannot read well yet will have no interest in the book, although the stories are wonderful read aloud. The Israel Folktale Archives seems to be the main source for most of the stories, and their "types of stories" lists are extensive. If an older student or a teacher is doing a research paper on Jewish folklore there is probably no better source. The Archives' classification system seems to rival the Dewey Decimal System in its complexity. In the epilogue, Schram reminds us that the telling of folktales is still "special and irreplaceable." The glossary has explanations of both Hebrew and Yiddish words that may not be familiar to some readers.It also contains English words that may not be familiar to younger students—"variant" and "Tale Type" are two of them. The bibliography is amazing—five pages in very small print and in several languages. Highly recommended, especially for Jewish audiences, teachers, and anyone interested in folklore.
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-An unusually varied and useful collection of 44 folktales ranging from legends involving the ethical dilemmas of King Solomon to stories of the Prophet Elijah to wisdom tales of ancient rabbis to universal stories given a Jewish slant and selections from near-modern times. The inspiration for Oberman's retellings stems from many cultures and continents, yet his direct, relatively unadorned language manages to convey the time and atmosphere of each setting. Sometimes reverent, sometimes jocular, each of the stories has something to teach. Oberman appends explanatory notes and source information to each folktale. Penninah Schram, who completed the editing after Oberman's death, has augmented the commentaries. Scholars will appreciate the notes indicating folkloric motifs and variants as well as the full bibliography. This is a gold mine for storytellers and educators alike.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590783078
Publisher:
Highlights Press
Publication date:
02/28/2006
Pages:
168
Sales rank:
1,253,834
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x (d)
Lexile:
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

Sheldon Oberman wrote two Sydney Taylor Honor Award-winning books—The Wisdom Bird and The Always Prayer Shawl, which also won a National Jewish Book Award. He taught at Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate, Winnipeg, Manitoba, where the Sheldon Oberman Writing Award has been established in his honor.

Peninnah Schram is a recipient of the Covenant Award for Outstanding Educator, awarded by The Covenant Foundation, and winner of the Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Network. Ms. Schram also has been awarded the National Storytellers Network Lifetime Achievement Award for "sustained and exemplary contributions to storytelling in America." She lives in New York City.

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