FICTION
The Sages of Chelm and the Moon
Green Bean. Jun. 2019. 32p. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781784383695.
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K-Gr 3–The people in the small fictional village of Chelm can’t figure out why the moon shines brightly on some nights but on other nights it disappears. They conclude that someone must be stealing their moonlight. They send a delegation to search for a new moon for the village. When they encounter a cunning innkeeper, he offers to sell them a moon. He gives them a large barrel filled with water. When the barrel is outside, the people can see the moon reflecting off the water. Only when they bring the barrel back to Chelm do they realize that they have been swindled, though they never figure out why the moon keeps disappearing. The expressive cartoon illustrations depict the idyllic Eastern European setting and add humor to the text.
VERDICT This import, from one of the leading children’s writers in Israel, is a variation on an oft-told folktale of the wise, but mostly foolish, people of Chelm, though there is no information to help readers put this in the context of the larger body of Jewish folklore

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