Jewish Values: Power of Song and Other Sephardic Tales, The

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150 p.
Drawing on sources that range from the Israel Folk Archives (IFA) to Judeo-Spanish ballad chapbooks, the author spins thirteen tales from the Sephardic tradition, some of them better known by their Ashkenazi variants. Djoha (Joha) the trickster appears in a story reminiscent of one about the Eastern European folk hero, Hershele Ostropoyler, who intimidates his foes by threatening to “do what my father did.” “Zipporah and the Seven Walnuts” is, like Nina Jaffe’s The Way Meat Loves Salt, a Cinderella story, with origins in Morocco. Another familiar Ashkenazi story about the king who went searching for a true friend is told here as a riddle tale, adapted by the author from Babylonian and Persian Jewish sources. Comments by the author follow each story. With a format similar to Gershator’s Wise and Not So Wise: Ten Tales from the Rabbis, plus the same illustrator, there are simple, softly colored black, white, and grey illustrations inside the book and an inviting cover in color. The length of the stories varies, with several short ones and several longer, more complex ones. Children in grades 2 – 6 are the likeliest audience, as well as adults; the phrase “for all ages,” is appropriate for a book as versatile as this one.
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