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Feivel's Flying Horses (Kar-Ben Favorites) Paperback – January 1, 2010

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1–3—As the chief apprentice in Mr. Nathanson's Coney Island carousel shop, Feivel lovingly remembers his wife and children in the old country as he designs and carves wooden horses. He creates a glorious horse with a long, golden mane for his wife, Goldie; a proud, regal beast for his eldest son, Hershel; a gentle creature whose bridle is etched with deer for his son Shmuel; a lively and graceful horse adorned with flowers and ribbons for his daughter Sasha; and a beautiful pony ornamented with hundreds of glittering glass jewels for his baby, Lena. By the time the carousel is complete, Fievel has earned enough money to bring his family to America. When they are finally reunited, the happy family rides the carousel together. The historical note details the contributions of eastern European Jewish immigrants, once wood carvers of synagogue arks and Torah scrolls, who used their talent to create magnificent carousel horses enjoyed by generations of children. Watercolor illustrations with ink lines illustrate the immigrant experience on New York's Lower East Side in the late 1800s and help bring to life the magic of Coney Island. Like this team's Mendel's Accordion (Lerner, 2007), this story celebrates the richness of the Jewish American experience.—Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The team who created Mendel’s Accordion (2007) offers another historical picture book celebrating the Jewish immigrant experience. Feivel leaves his wife and four children behind in the Old Country when he comes to New York. A wood carver by trade, he is hired to create carousel horses for a Coney Island amusement park. Thinking of the family he has left behind, Feivel fashions steeds for his wife and children, inscribing each masterpiece with a name. Van der Sterre’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations offer a pleasantly nostalgic look at life in New York’s Lower East Side and Brooklyn’s Coney Island during the late 1800s. The scenes are rich with street details and the beautifully crafted horses. An appended note explains about several real eastern European Jewish synagogue ark carvers who found work in the U.S. as carousel carvers. Slightly older audiences will also enjoy Deborah Lee Rose’s The Rose Horse (1995), which touches on the carousel carvers and is set in Coney Island’s Jewish community of the early twentieth century. Grades K-3. --Kay Weisman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Series: Kar-Ben Favorites
  • Paperback: 28 pages
  • Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761339590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761339595
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.1 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,452,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Library Binding
Feivel was on board the deck of the ship. He held his hand over his heart and tentatively waved goodbye to his family down below. He was sadly leaving his wife and children behind to go to America in hopes of making a better life for them all. As the ship passed the Statue of Liberty he began to dream of them in his mind's eye. His oldest son Hershel had assured him that he would take care of the family, yet he was no more than a boy himself. There was Shmuel, Sasha, his little prima ballerina, and his infant daughter, Lena. His eyes held a glimmer of hope as he approached the shore, but he knew it would be a long time before he would hold them in his arms once more.

In the Old Country Feivel had been a wood carver along with his elders. They were the carvers of "the ornate reading desks that held the Torah scrolls, and the fearsome lions that guarded the holy arks in synagogues" so he was sure to find work in this new land of opportunity, but it was not the kind of work he was used to. Carving furniture was hard, but he would save his money and persevere. His family would one day join him if he worked hard enough. His cousin Mikhael tried to get him to relax and take a short day trip to an amazing place in Brooklyn called Coney Island.

No, no. There was no time for the frivolous when his family was counting on him. He had to save his money. Mikhael insisted and that very weekend they boarded the number thirty-eight trolley car and were on their way to see those fortune tellers, the Ferris wheels and the glowing lights ... but he had to think of his children. It was dreamlike place with the color the lights, and the screams of excitement, but his family was counting on him. The pair heard some organ music and soon came upon a "magnificent wooden carousel.
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Format: Paperback
Oh this is a lovely book! It tells the story of Feivel, a Jewish immigrant who comes to America in the 19th-century, leaving his family behind in Europe, so he can make a better life for them in the new world and hopefully earn enough money for them to come over and join them. A gifted artist, he makes a living carving elaborate and beautiful carousel horses, each dedicated to a member of his family. Finally, he earns enough for his wife and children to join him in New York, where they can finally see his amazing "horses."

Because it's based on real events, the book is of particular interest to children of Jewish families, European immigrants, or those who live in New York, but it is certainly not limited to that audience. The theme of longing and determination expressed through art is a universally relatable one, I think, and I found it very touching. Mostly though, the illustrations are so rich and lovely that it made me want to go on a carousel. What a wonderful book to read in the summertime, when there are merry-go-rounds to ride on at fairs and exhibitions (though perhaps not as amazing and special as the ones in the book)!

This review first appeared on my blog, Cozy Little Book Journal.
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Format: Paperback
Jewish woodcarvers star in this sweet tale of late 19th century immigrants. Feivel, third generation wood artist, journeys to New York for a better life with the clichéd $5.00. He must leave behind his family, a wife and four children until he saves money for their passage. Despite working from the minute he arrives on the Lower East Side, saving takes years. Feivel misses his family terribly, and sorely regrets not seeing his children grow up. Feivel toils reduced from exalted synagogue Torah ark carvings to making furniture, until a cousin treats him to Coney Island. Astounded by the magnificent carousel and yearning for his artistic past, he spies a job opening for an experienced wood carver. Feivel designs and carves horses which capture the faraway family members he pines for. His Jewish identity is obvious when he sings Yiddish love songs at work and blessings in the synagogue. Feivel refuses to ride the finished carousel until his family rides with him. They arrive and happily mount their splendid, special horses. Feivel's life, like his carousel, becomes a joyous, complete circle. The text gently delivers the pain of separation faced by myriad immigrants while smartly teaching about talented Jewish artisans and their rich contribution to American culture. The picture book's art parallels the text in plot and emotion. Homey scenes in soft watercolor on two-page spreads deliver the magical milieu of Coney Island and its determined artist, well fed, neat and (please note) blonde whose sadness wells from separation, not the grime of a grinding ghetto. For ages 5-8. Reviewed by Ellen Cole
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Format: Kindle Edition
Lots of immigrants came to America to make a better life for themselves. Feivel, a wood carver by trade, was no different. He leaves his wife and four children behind, with the promise to send for them later. In New York he crafted furniture. It was hard work. His cousin Mikhael invited him to see Coney Island. There he saw many wonderful things, but it was the carousel horses that sparked his attention. When he discovered the owner was looking for a wood carver, Feivel jumped at the chance. Three long years later, Feivel's elegant carvings were put on display. But, will he be able to share it with his family? This lovely tale offers many true elements with regards to wood carvers and immigrants. The beautifully illustrated pictures depict the early works of the many immigrants who came to America to follow their dreams. Historical notes on the back pages give reference to the lives of some amazing carvers of the 1800's.
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