CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 7 . . . . October 14, 2011
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.
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.
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.
Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children’s Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.