________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 7 . . . . October 14, 2011


Kishka for Koppel.

Aubrey Davis. Illustrated by Sheldon Cohen.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2011.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-55469-229-6.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Reesa Cohen.

**** /4

Reviewed from f&g’s.



Koppel stopped beside a big trash can and looked in. He pulled out a moldy sock, a cracked cup and a torn rubber boot. Then he spotted an old meat grinder with a wooden handle.

“Just another piece of rusty junk,” he said.

“Why am I so unlucky?”

A junkman, rummaging through a trash can, is lamenting his poor luck when he happens upon a talking meat grinder that offers Koppel any three wishes. Doubtful, but intrigued, Koppel races home to tell his wife, Yetta, the news. Yetta greets this information with disdain and humour, but, nonetheless, she conjures up dreams of lofty and impossible ideas. A wish for Kishka and an accidental spin of the meat grinder’s crank result in trouble and hilarity. Both Koppel and Yetta learn a very important lesson about making frivolous wishes.

internal art

      Many versions of the “three wishes” tales are familiar in traditional folklore, but this one is given a “yiddish” or old-time Jewish flavour. Storyteller Aubrey Davis is a master at this technique with Bagels from Benny and Bone Button Borscht being prime examples of his taking classical, enduring tales and giving them an ethnic twist. Davis’s skill as an animated storyteller and performer shines through as does his sense of humour in the retelling.

“Take it easy, Koppel. I may be a meat grinder, but I’ve got feelings.”

Koppel’s mouth dropped open.

“A talking meat grinder, he said .“How do you know my name? How do you know my father was a rabbi?”

“My lips are sealed.”

“You don’t have any lips.”

“Never mind, I’m here to help you.”

      The story moves forward with delightful dialogue between Yetta and Koppel. The occasional colourful bold print of text adds to the rollicking nature of the tale.

      Bright cartoon-like illustrations suit the nature of the story. Many full page spreads are detailed and delightful to look at, with an emphasis on facial expressions. The energetic folk art displayed here will become another successful addition to Sheldon Cohen’s impressive career in the illustration, animation and painting of children’s stories.

     This well recognized and multi award-winning duo of Aubrey Davis and Sheldon Cohen have created magic with a captivating and whimsical folktale, one that teaches readers to “be careful what you wish for!”

Highly Recommended.

Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children’s Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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