Book Reviews of The Jar of Fools: Eight Hanukkah Stories from Chelm

The Jar of Fools: Eight Hanukkah Stories from Chelm
The Jar of Fools Eight Hanukkah Stories from Chelm
Author: Eric A. Kimmel
ISBN-13: 9780439329309
ISBN-10: 0439329302
Publication Date: 2001
Pages: 56
Rating:
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 2

4.5 stars, based on 2 ratings
Publisher: Scholastic
Book Type: Paperback
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reviewed The Jar of Fools: Eight Hanukkah Stories from Chelm on + 11 more book reviews
very cute traditional folk stories
reviewed The Jar of Fools: Eight Hanukkah Stories from Chelm on + 27 more book reviews
Ages 4-8. The best retellings of the Fools of Chelm stories, such as Isaac Bashevis Singer's When Shlemiel Went to Warsaw (1968), reveal a wry absurdity in the literal truth. Rooted in daily shtetl life, they cut down our most earnest endeavors and show us as survivors making the best of the worst. Kimmel gets the shtetl setting, the humanity, and the farce; but his collection is uneven. Some tales, such as "Wisdom for Sale," go on much too long, with elaborately contrived fantasy and heavy explanations of the wise-fool paradox. And Kimmel's sources are vague: only two of the stories are traditional Chelm tales; some are adapted from "other traditions," and some are Kimmel's own work. There are, however, some memorable tales. One of the best is "The Magic Spoon," in which the villagers talk themselves into making latkes together. Gerstein's detailed ink-on-oil paint artwork, one full-page picture per story, captures the intricate silliness and slapstick, and it's fitting that the type uses upside-down question marks. Hazel Rochman
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