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Five Little Gefiltes Hardcover – February 1, 2007

4.9 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With this endearing if uneven parody of "Five Little Ducklings," Horowitz (The Ugly Pumpkin) initiates youngsters into the joys of Yiddish—just in time for Passover. After explaining what gefilte fish is (though non-Jewish readers may not be helped much by a definition that compares them to "matzo balls made out of fish"), the author sends the five title characters out of their jar to explore New York City. Mama Gefilte's cries of "Oy vey!" meeting with decreasing success as, one by one, the gefiltes are lured away: "One little gefilte went out one day./ A big yellow taxi schlepped him away./ Mama Gefilte cried out 'Oy vey!'/ but not a single gefilte came back that day." Comic asides abound, enabling Horowitz to stuff even more Yiddishisms into his story, including the always evocative "tuches" and "plotz." Of course, all the gefiltes do eventually come back to their meshugana Mama " 'cause each was a mensch!" Horowitz's gefiltes actually do look an awful lot like matzo balls, but their hats give them character, and his compositions play up the puns (e.g., a movie ad for Goldie Lox and the 3 Schmears). Simms Taback's Kibitzers and Fools this is not. Think of this as pretty tasty schmear. All ages. (Feb.)
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From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2—Remember the five little ducks that wandered away from their mama? In this parody, the troublesome offspring are balls of chopped fish traditionally served as an appetizer to a Jewish meal. The gefiltes wander across an early-20th-century New York City, visiting theaters and delicatessens, swimming in the bay, and riding in a yellow cab, with a smaller number returning home each time. Whenever she loses a child, Mama Gefilte cries out, "Oy Vey!," and the book is well spiced with Yiddish phrases and New York speech patterns. Of course, all ends happily when the five gefiltes return, because "each was a mensch" (a really good person). With the right adult guidance, this story may amuse youngsters while helping them to absorb some Yiddish. It might even encourage them to expand their tastes-although gefilte fish is not a dish popular with kids, who are more likely to agree with the character who utters "Feh! that's disgusting." It's silly, but all in good fun.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (February 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399246088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399246081
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 0.4 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"Dave Horowitz...specializes in comical stories that operate on two levels, leaving parents tittering along with their children's giggles". -- the New York Times.

Horowitz has written and illustrated over a dozen popular books for children including, THE UGLY PUMPKIN, HUMPTY DUMPTY CLIMBS AGAIN, TWENTY-SIX PRINCESSES (and its counterpart, TWENTY-SIX PIRATES) as well as the 2008 Sydney Taylor Notable, FIVE LITTLE GEFILTES.

Besides making books for kids, Dave has been a drummer, a rock climbing guide and a college professor. His favorite color is orange.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a nanny I've read hundreds of books with children and none compares to Five Little Gefiltes! It's a delight to have young children react with such joy and enthusiasm as I read to and with them. Nothing compares to the sound of a giddy child yelling "Oy vey!" Except maybe the sound of a child yelling "I'm gonna plotz!" It's become a favorite book of every child I've read it to. Such chutzpah this book has! ;)
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Format: Hardcover
This book could easily have been one of those concept books that starts with a good idea, but fades as the gimmick gets stretched and stretched over the course of the book.

_Five Little Gefiltes_ is not that kind of a book. Each page has uproarious details that reflect Jewish culture and tradition (and humor) with goofy allusions just for the parents. This is a very, very funny book, and a smart one, too.
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Format: Hardcover
I overheard an amused mom reading this aloud to her daughter and then, after they put it down, I grabbed it and bought it. We love reading it aloud and my kids shout "oy vey" which cracks me up! I also love having them try out some of the yiddish words that are funny flourishes throughout the book.
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Format: Hardcover
Five little smiling Gefilte fish balls wearing top hats (one is always whistling) greet us on the cover of this amusing parody of the "Five Little Ducks" song. They go out daily from their jar to experience city life, bouncing down the wrought iron fire escape, "taking in a play", swimming in the bay "crashing the deli buffet", an getting "shlepped away" in a yellow taxi. Unfortunately for Mama Gefilte, one less gefilte returns each day, causing her to cry out "OY VEY" in consternation, until they all return happily to where the babushka-wearing Mama fish ball sits on her park bench. She stops kvetching, and now kvells with happiness. The funny asides on signage and within the illustrations are clever inside Yiddish jokes for the older crowd, but the book stands on its own as a delightful frolic through New York's Jewish scene. This book needs to be sung--the zanier the better! Share with some kids ASAP--just avoid serving Gefilte fish to those who won't appreciate it!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because it shares an older type jewish humor that is not often shared with our younger children unless they are exposed to their older family members. I read it using various voices and have other elder members that come to visit read using their unique humor to share the story with my students.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think I like this book even more than my son. The book improved by reading it aloud in a faux Yiddish accent, whether alone or reading it to a little friend.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a very humorfulled book. I can't wait to see the reactions of my very young nieces and nephews.It depicts a humor filled story that makes me chuckle.
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Format: Hardcover
I love love love this book. I love it more than any other Jewish food-based children's books. And I don't even like gefilte fish.
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