Last time I wrote about three funny folk tales that have stayed with me since childhood. Folk and fairy tales have been a rich genre for Jewish-themed picture books, so one post wasn't quite enough. Here's two more:
Elijah's Violin & Other Jewish Fairy Tales, retold by Howard Schwartz and illustrated by Linda Heller is the kind of book you go back to again and again, finding treasure each time. I owned this book as a child (and own it still), and perhaps the most amazing thing for me was that the source and place of origin of each tale is included at the end of the story. I was amazed at how varied the Jewish world was and longed to learn more about Jewish history. This is a great place to read stories that are not of European origin.
Then there was Deborah the Dybbuk by Marilyn Hirsch, a Jewish ghost story, published by Holiday House in 1978. Reading this book was definitely my first exposure to the idea of the dybbuk, a malevolent spirit that possesses the body of a living person and must be exorcised through the toe! This seems to be long out of print, and I can't find a cover image to show you. I'd love to find this again though -- there seem to be a number of used copies online and I'm sure it's in libraries.
Next time I'm moving on to a another rich category, historical fiction. And then I'll talk about some excellent brand new Jewish-themed picture books.