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Dybbuk: A Story Made in Heaven Hardcover – March 21, 1996


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Hardcover, March 21, 1996
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Hardcover: 24 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; 1st ed edition (March 21, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688143075
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688143077
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,681,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Prose has transformed the classic Jewish folktale of the dybbuk, a troublesome spirit that can inhabit and terrorize the human body, into a lively and entertaining children's story. Her light touch and deft wit weave together familiar strands of Jewish folklore from sources as varied as the tales of Sholom Aleichem (popularized in Fiddler on the Roof) to the mythical town of fools known as Chelm. Her story opens with the tradition that 40 days before a baby is born, the angels in heaven get together and decide whom the baby will marry when it grows up. Leah, from the town of Chopski, and Chonon, from the town of Klopski, not only are so destined, but actually fall in love at first sight. Leah's father interferes by trying to marry his daughter off to old Benya, the most powerful man in the village. At the wedding, Leah seems possessed by a dybbuk using the voice of Chonon, which disappears, of course, when Chonon replaces Old Benya as the groom. True love and the angels triumph. Podwal uses a palette of teal, magenta, orange and turquoise to give a vibrant flavor to the story instead of the nostalgic, old-world feeling so common to books about the shtetl. Ages 5-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-3?A story that combines and loosely adapts two Jewish legends. The first is that 40 days before we are born, the angels match us to our future mate; the second is that a living person can be occupied by a dead person's spirit that can find no peace or by an evil spirit. In Prose's story, Leah is a young woman whose father will not allow her to marry Choron, a poor boy with whom she is in love. Instead, he arranges her marriage to a rich old man. Unknown to all, the girl and her young man had already been matched in heaven before their birth. At the wedding ceremony, Choron occupies Leah's body and possesses her spirit. A comical exorcism ensues but to no avail. Giving in, the father sends for Choron and the happy pair are wed. This is a silly noodlehead story, charmingly illustrated by Podwal. However, this adaptation errs in that a living person cannot occupy another living person, not in any tradition, and a tragic theme has been transformed into a tale that does not honor its religious or folkloric source. Scores of children will be misled about a timeless legend because of this distortion. In his numerous retellings, Eric Kimmel combines snippets of one folktale or legend with pieces of another to create new tales, but he always remains true to the essence of the original. Unfortunately, that is not so in Dybbuk.?Marcia W. Posner, Holocaust Memorial and Educational Center of Nassau County, Glen Cove, NY
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Francine Prose is the author of sixteen books of fiction. Her novel A Changed Man won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and Blue Angel was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent works of nonfiction include the highly acclaimed Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and the New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer. A former president of PEN American Center, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Francine Prose lives in New York City.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alyssa A. Lappen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This 1996 tale of a troublesome spirit that takes hold of a young woman had some help from The Dybbuk, the 1918 play of S. Ansky.

The Russian ethnographer had traveled from 1912 to 1914 collecting the Jewish legends, folktales, proverbs, songs and music on which he based his work. Those legends and folktales were based on the 17th century appearance of a literary dybbuk, who in turn sprang from early Jewish folklore.

In this case, the idea and illustrations are better than the text, which is strained in places. But it's a cute, not-so-terrifying way to introduce children to the dybbuk legend.

--- Alyssa A. Lappen
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