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Stories for Children Paperback – October 1, 1985


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 910L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; Reissue edition (October 1, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374464898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374464899
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This superb collection of stories by Singer brings together both old favorites and tales less familiar to American children...Singer writes with wit and imagination; his tales glow with color, wisdom and a deep appreciation of God and the natural world. . .Perfect for reading aloud or for snuggling up with." --Starred, School Library Journal

Language Notes

Text: English, Yiddish (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
I completely missed it when I read the book to myself silently.
The Wizard
An adult will surely enjoy these tales, and if he can share them with a child then his pleasure will be doubled!
Esther Nebenzahl
Over the years I've read this book to my daughter several times.
Janice Sims

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Janice Sims VINE VOICE on May 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Over the years I've read this book to my daughter several times. As most children, she has her favorites and never tires of those. You've got demons and witches and holy men who fight evil. You've got moral lessons that teach without preaching. All written with compassion and a deft hand. Adventure abounds. Excitement rules the day. You'll find yourself speaking with a Yiddish accent in spite of yourself! And, me, an African American woman! Good books know no color. Pure magic.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Esther Nebenzahl on May 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
Although this set of 36 stories is recommended for reading level 4 to 8 years old, Singer would rightly say that story tellers "write not only for children but also for their parents, they too are serious children." Singer considers children as the best readers of genuine literature, by nature inclined to mysticism, and with their own particular logic and clarity they rely on nothing but their own taste. With an array of supernaturral characters (devils, gnomes, hobgoblings, prophets, imps, saints, and demons) Singer fulfils a mosaic of fantastic imagination, colored by a rich folklore, addressing moral issues that concern the child and the adult as well. Stories such as "Zlateh the Goat," "Popiel and Tekla," "The Power of Light," amongst others, have a universal appeal because they address eternal questions. For Singer, now matter how young a child might be, he is a philosopher and seeker of God. An adult will surely enjoy these tales, and if he can share them with a child then his pleasure will be doubled!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By The Wizard on January 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
I had read Isaac Bashevis Singer in high school and enjoyed him. I picked up Stories for Children at the library and read it to myself straight through and found it very enjoyable. I thought my 4 and 5 year old might like it too so I read Zlateh the Goat since we're getting a lot of snow. You have to understand that basically the author has transcribed oral legend onto paper. It's the difference between reading Shakespeare and watching Hollywood doing Henry V. I have never so vividly experienced this as when I read the this story to the kids. They were rolling on the floor when the goat says Maaaa. At the end of the story the author ends one word short. Both kids shouted it out. I completely missed it when I read the book to myself silently.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 2002
Format: School & Library Binding Verified Purchase
I sometimes read these to my sick and elderly dad at bed time. He loves them. When he's not doing well, is worried about his health, is afraid to close his eyes, the stories work their magic. As I read, he sometimes clucks, murmers "oh, yes," and makes other happy and endearing sounds--just great to hear. If he's still awake at the end, he goes to sleep, fearlessly, with a smile on his face.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Alyssa A. Lappen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
As Singer noted in his 1984 Foreword, "in the beginning was the Logos, the power of the word." He had never believed he could write for children, but editor Elizabeth Shub convinced him otherwise in the early 1960s. Twelve volumes of children's books followed, from which these 36 tales are gleaned. Young readers should remain eternally grateful.

This collection opens in Chelm, the village of idiots young and old. Even the people have funny names--Gronam Ox, Dopey Lekisch, Zeinvel Ninny, Shmendrick Numskull and Feyvel Thickwit. The way they speak and act is still funnier.

Gronam, for example, would have been a happy man, but for the elders who regularly visited--to whom he regularly spoke nonsense. His first wife Genendel would reproach him, to which he replied, "In the future, whenever you hear me saying something silly, come into the room and let me know. I will immediately change the subject."

She refused. "If they learn you're a fool, you'll lose your job as head of the council." Instead, each time he said anything silly, she offered to hand him the key to their strongbox. "Then you'll know you've been talking like a fool."

That year, the town met with a scarcity of sour cream, which was sorely needed for the coming Pentecost, a holiday on which the townsfolk normally ate a lot of it. Gronam had the solution. He proposed making "a law that water is to be called sour cream, and sour cream is to be called water." Given the wells full of water, he noted, all the women would have barrels full of sour cream as a result.

Sender Donkey, Treitel Fool and their most foolish compatriots all heartily approved. So the new law was written. But Genendel shortly appeared with the strongbox key.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
I enjoy reading these stories to my kids as much as they enjoy listening to them. These are truly wonderful and riveting stories by a master, who's as comfortable writing about the old country as he is describing quaint Jewish life in Manhattan as an immigrant. Diverse, enchanting tales of everyday life, here and there, of magic and supernatural heroes of the shtetl, and of the all-knowing people and elders of Chelm. All told, the stories are the story.

One caveat: a few of these stories have sexual allusions which may be (or should be) beyond the grasp of kids under 10, though most of these stories can be enjoyed even by single-digit young people.
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