Children's Fiction


Alone in the Wild Forest

Alone in the Wild Forest
Amazon.com:

A young orphan's life is changed when the angel he meets in the forest gives him an amulet that will fulfill every wish.

Elijah the Slave

Elijah the Slave
Amazon.com:

A Hebrew legend is retold in this picture book. In order to rescue a scribe named Tobias from poverty, a messenger from God named Elijah sells himself as a slave in the marketplace.

From Publishers Weekly:
Singer's story of a scribe and the heaven-sent messenger who rescues him from poverty is glowingly illustrated in a style reminiscent of medieval art.

Review:
"A Hebrew legend told with simplicity and spirit. . .To rescue Tobias the scribe from poverty, Elijah, a messenger from God, sells himself as a slave in the marketplace, giving the money to Tobias. . .The illustrations in this stunning picture book are a feast for the eyes." --Booklist

Fearsome Inn, The

Fearsome Inn, The
Two witches, who practice their evil trade on lost travelers, are banished through the wisdom of a student of the holy cabala, and the power of his magic chalk.

Fools of Chelm, The

Fools of Chelm, The
Even though they were poor, the people of Chelm were content with their lives until the Council of Sages made them aware of their problems.

Publishers Weekly:

A satirical look at the residents of Chelm, the legendary Yiddish town of fools.


Review:
"The town of Chelm is just like every place else, only worse, as numerous shortages, foolish citizens, and inept leaders combine to make life thoroughly miserable. In this whimsical satire, Singer mocks the 'advantages'-such as war, crime, and revolution-that civilization brings to Chelm." --Booklist

Golem, The

Golem, The
Amazon.com:

A clay giant miraculously brought to life by a saintly rabbi saves a Jewish banker who has been falsely accused in the Prague of Emperor Rudolf II.

Joseph and Koza, or The Sacrifice to Vistula

Joseph and Koza, or The Sacrifice to Vistula
An intensely dramatic story of the coming of new ways to a wild land. In pagan Poland, where the barbarous tribes believe in devils and witches, a maiden is sacri?ced each summer to pacify the evil spirits of the River Vistula. Into this world comes a stranger from the East. Joseph, a wandering goldsmith and a Jew, tells of the one God, more powerful than Baba Yaga and all her wicked retinue. But if Joseph is to prove God's might, he must save the Chieftain's daughter Koza from the threat of sacri?ce.

Mazel and Schlimazel, or The Milk of a Lioness

Mazel and Schlimazel, or The Milk of a Lioness
Image courtesy of Amazon
"Good is pitted against evil in open contest when the debonair Mazel, spirit of good luck, makes a wager with the wicked old sot Shlimazel, spirit of bad luck. The story has all the traditional elements of the folk tale, enhanced by the vitality and humor of Singer's inimitable style and by the vigorous, colorful illustrations." --Saturday Review

Naftali the Storyteller and His Horse Sus and Other Stories

Naftali the Storyteller and His Horse Sus and Other Stories
Like title character Naftali, Singer is a master craftsman: these eight varied stories are as much an evocation of a bygone way of life as a tribute to the storyteller's art.

A collection of short stories which explores the humor and life of the people of Poland.

Table of Contents:

Naftali the Storyteller and His Horse, Sus
Dalfunka, Where the Rich Live Forever
The Lantuch
A Hanukkah Eve in Warsaw
The Fools of Chelm and the Stupid Carp
Lemel and Tzipa
The Cat who Thought She was a Dog and the Dog who Thought He was a Aat --
Growing Up

Parakeet Named Dreidel, The

Parakeet Named Dreidel, The
The appearance of a Yiddish-speaking parakeet at a Brooklyn window one frosty Hanukkah evening, seems to cause the eerie extinction of the Hanukkah candles at the same moment in every house in long-ago Bilgoray, on each of the holiday's first seven nights. "The Parakeet Named Dreidel" ends in conventional fairy-tale fashion (after eight years the bird is reclaimed--by a young woman who will marry the son of the house)

Power of Light, The

Power of Light, The
Image courtesy of Amazon
This stirring collection can enrich readers of all faiths, all ages, with its descriptions of the miraculous power of light over evil.

Table of Contents:

A Hanukkah Evening in My Parents’ House
The Estinguished Lights
The Parakeet Named Dreidel
Menashe and Rachel
The Squire
The Power of Light
Hershele and Hanukkah
Hanukkah in the Poorhouse

Reaches of Heaven

Reaches of Heaven
Isaac Bashevis Singer tells his understanding of the birth, upbringing, marriage, struggles, and children of Israel Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the modern Chassidic movement, and how he captured the attention and hearts of thousands of followers. Virtually nothing is really known about this man. Even his birth year of 1700 is conjecture. Yet there is a spirit that is true, a spirit that Singer captures.

Israel was left as an orphan at a very early age. The small community in which he lived felt obligated to support him and did so. He was assigned different houses for his daily food; one of which was the home of a rich man with a beautiful daughter of his age who was fond of him. There was also a son who was older than Israel. The community also felt obliged to educate Israel and the school soon discovered how brilliant he was. This is Singer's view, but other legends say that the school and the community thought he was not too bright, as people thought about Albert Einstein in his youth.

Israel married the girl and the older boy became one of his first followers. Israel's son did not turn out as Israel would have wanted and his daughter married a man from Germany who could not speak the Yiddish that Israel spoke correctly. Israel's followers were convinced that Israel was reading minds and performing miracles, but this perplexed Israel who knew he could not do it.

Shrew Todie and Lizer the Miser and Other Children's Stories

Shrew Todie and Lizer the Miser and Other Children's Stories
A delightful collection of stories about a bygone era that are still relevant and enjoyable today.

Table of Contents:

Shrew Todie and Lyzer the Miser
Tsirtsur and Peziza
Litzel and His Daughter Poverty
Menashe’s Dream
When Shlemiel Went to Warsaw
Lemel and Tzipa
The Cat Who Thought She was a Dog and the Dog Who Thought He was a Cat
Naftali the Storyteller and His Horse, Sus

Stories for Children

Stories for Children
"Children," Mr. Singer believes, "are the best readers of genuine literature." Yet it was not until 1966, at the age of sixty-two, that he published his first children's book, Zlateh the Goat, a Newbery Honor Book. Many stories later, his stature as a teller of exuberant and timeless tales for children which are rich in fantasy but also deeply rooted in the lost cultural tradition of his native Poland is perhaps unsurpassed.

This volume presents the lion's share of the children's stories Isaac Bashevis Singer has written to date, along with a brief introduction and epilogue. A number of the stories appear in book form for the first time. Most have been translated from the Yiddish, with the author's personal supervision and, in many cases, collaboration.

Table of Contents:

The Elders of Chelm and Genendel’s Key
A Tale of three Wishes
The Extinguished Lights
Mazel and Shlimazel
Why Noah Chose the Dove
Zlateh the Goat
A Hanukkah Eve in Warsaw
The Fools of Chelm and the Stupid Carp
The Wicked City
Rabbi Leib and the With Cunegunde
The Parakeet Named Dreidel
Lemel and Tzipa
The Day I Got Lost
Meashe and Rachel
Shlemiel the Businessman
Joseph and Koza
A Hanukkah Evening in My Parents’ House
Tsirtsur and Peziza
Naftali the Storyteller and His Horse, Sus
Hershele and Hanukkah
When Shlemiel Went to Warshaw
Elijah the Slave
The Poer of Light
Growing Up
The Lantuch
Utzel and His Daughter, Poverty
The Squire
Ole and Trufa
Dalfunka, Where the Rich Live Forever
Topiel and Tekla
Hanukkah in the Poorhouse
Shrewd Todie and Lyzer the Miser
The Fearsome Inn
The Cat Who thought She Was a Dog and the Dog Who Thought He Was a Cat
Meashe’s Dream
Tashlik
Are Children the Ultimate Literary Critics?

Tale of Three Wishes, A

Tale of Three Wishes, A
Image courtesy of Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Jacket Copy:

Legend has it that on the night of Hoshana Rabbah, the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, the sky opens. If one sees it happen and makes a wish, the wish will come true. Shlomah, Esther, and Moshe slip out one night to the synagogue yard to see the sky open and make their wishes: Shlomah to be as wise and rich as King Solomon, Moshe to be as learned as Rabbi Moshe Maimonides, and Esther to be as beautiful as Queen Esther. But when the sky opens to reveal angels, fiery chariots, and Jacob's ladder, the three children find themselves making very strange wishes indeed.

Topsy-Turvy Emperor of China, The

Topsy-Turvy Emperor of China, The
Amazon.com:

The mean and monstrously ugly Emperor Cho Cho Shang decrees that everything in China be the opposite of what it was-the just and beautiful becomes unjust and ugly; cruel and hideous is now fair and lovely. The kingdom is hopelessly topsy-turvy until a few brave souls, starting with the Emperor's own son, decide to resist the madness and put things right again.

Review:
"Gleefully parodies modern times (or any other rotten times)...This spoof speaks truth."-The New Yorker

When Shlemiel Went to Warsaw and Other Stories

When Shlemiel Went to Warsaw and Other Stories
Eight stories, some inspired by traditional Jewish tales, feature such characters as Shlemiel, Todie, Rabbi Leib and Menaseh. PW called this "a rich collection that will be enjoyed by both young and old."

Table of Contents:

Shrewd Todie & Lyzer the Miser
Tsirtsur & Peziza
Rabbi Leib & the Witch Cunegunde
The Elders of Chelm & Genendel's Key
Shlemiel, the Businessman
Utzel & his Daughter Poverty
Menaseh's Dream
When Shlemiel Went to Warsaw.

Why Noah Chose the Dove

Why Noah Chose the Dove
Image courtesy of Farrar, Straus, & Giroux
Jacket Copy:

"Noah was a righteous man," says Isaac Bashevis Singer, so he and his family were to be saved from the flood. But rumor had it that only the best of all living creatures were to be taken aboard the Ark with Noah. In a fresh and lively approach to the age-old account, Isaac Bashevis Singer sets down the dialogue of the animals as they vie with one another for a place on the Ark.

Wicked City, The

Wicked City, The
Amazon.com:

Retells the Old Testament tale of the destruction of Sodom.

Yentl the Yeshiva Boy

Yentl the Yeshiva Boy
Recognizing that Yentyl seems to have the soul and disposition of a man, her father studies the Torah and other holy books with her. When he dies, Yentyl feels that she no longer has a reason to remain in the village, and so, late one night, she cuts off her hair, dresses as a young man, and sets out to find a yeshiva where she can continue her studies and live secretly as a man.

Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories

Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories
Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer introduces readers to the village of Chelm in this Newbery Honor Book. Chelm is a village of fools. The most famous fools—the oldest and the greatest—are the seven Elders. But there are lesser fools too: a silly irresponsible bridegroom; four sisters who mix up their feed in bed one night; a young man who imagines himself dead. Here are seven magical folktales spun by a master storyteller, that speak of fools, devils, schlemiels, and even heroes—like Zlateh the goat.

The New York Times called Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories, "beautiful stories for children, written by a master." The New York Book Review said, "This book is a triumph. If you have no older children on your list, buy it for yourself." Singer's extraordinary book of folklore is illustrated by Maurice Sendak, who won a Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are.

Table of Contents:

Fool’s Paradise
Grandmother’s Tale
The Snow in chelm
The Mixed-Up Feet and the Silly Bridegroom
The First Shlemiel
The Devil’s Trick
Zlateh the Goat
 
   
 
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