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Shlemiel Crooks Hardcover – May, 2005
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From School Library Journal
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
Two crooks, inspired by Pharaoh's ghost, decide to raid the Passover wine shipment. Warned off by a talking horse and loud neighbors, the unlucky crooks leave behind their own horse and cart. The narration (reminiscent of Sid Fleischmann at his best, or maybe Sholom Aleichem) is hilarious, and draws on Torah, Gemara, Jewish history, and culture. The setting sets *Shlemiel Crooks* apart from most Jewish books, and the artwork is colorful and appealing.
The sophisticated (often Yiddish) vocabulary, dense allusions to Jewish religion & culture, & word count make this book best for ages 7 (maybe 8) and up...it's truly enjoyable for readers normally too mature for the picture book genre.
In case you didn't know, a shelmiel is a luckless and inept fool, lacking enough sense even to change himself (however slightly) for the better. But the reader of this book will have a lot of luck, even if the chief culprits have none.
Besides from offering a great story, this beautifully illustrated picture book is a good reminder of the historical presence of Jewish Americans throughout the U.S., in many capacities.
It's been a while since I bought any new picture books, but if I were still buying them, this one would definitely be on my list.