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****Kibitzers and Fools

Tales my Zayda Told Me

by Simms Taback

Reviewed March 5, 2006.
Viking, New York, 2005. 44 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (E TAB).

Here’s a wise and whimsical book by a Caldecott winner. Simms Taback presents a collection of Jewish tales, with lots of Yiddish words (with their meanings) thrown in.

The stories are all funny, but all also make you think. For example, “The Sign” tells about a fish peddler who was hanging a sign. One by one, he followed the advice of passing kibitzers who suggested that he paint out one of the words on the sign. Finally, when no words were left, a kibitzer said he should hang a sign.

I like the “Sayings” that are included after each story and also on the end papers. Some examples are: “A wise man knows what he says, and a fool says what he knows.” “A liar tells a lie so often, he believes it himself.” “It’s better to have a good enemy than a bad friend.” “Keep your eye on the bagel and not the hole.” “Ask and you won’t get lost.” And here’s one I need to take to heart: “It is easier to be a critic than an author.”

Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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