Sunday, October 10, 2021

CHELM for the HOLIDAYS, Brilliant! A Book Review

Titling this book review "CHELM for the HOLIDAYS, Brilliant!" isn't an oxymoron. The classic Jewish "wise men of Chelm" stories aren't about stupid people; they are lessons in life and siyata d'Shmaya, the hand/power of Gd.

Valerie Estelle Frankel did a wonderful job writing CHELM for the HOLIDAYS; I enjoyed reading it. Allegories, such as stories about Chelm, are actually theological books written simplistically with humor, rather than heavy-handed preachiness. 

CHELM for the HOLIDAYS is written for very young readers in short, clear chapters sans illustrations, but you can read it to younger children, even preschoolers. The advantage of reading it to children is that you can discuss the issues and laugh together about the characters' "foolishness." 

For example, the Chanukah story, "The Oiliest Miracle" can be used to teach children how many candles or portions of oil would be needed to light the Chanukiyah, Chanukah Menorah all eight nights. Teaching via humor is very effective.

A very important concept is found in all of the stories, community. The people of Chelm aren't isolated individuals. Whether intended or not, they end up helping each other. We see this especially in the Shavuot Blintzes story and The Disappearing Challah.

CHELM for the HOLIDAYS is highly recommended. Buy it for young readers or to read to children of all ages.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kar-Ben Publishing ®; Illustrated edition (August 1, 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 72 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1541554620
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1541554627
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 8 - 15 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 740
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 3 - 9

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