Cin­derel­la: Lev­el 1: Learn Hebrew Through Fairy Tales

David Burke; Migs San­doval, illus.
  • Review
By – April 2, 2012
The Slang­man Kids For­eign Lan­guage Through Fairy Tales series uses famil­iar sto­ries to intro­duce basic vocab­u­lary for a vari­ety of lan­guages; the Hebrew edi­tions are those under review here. The three fairy tales in the series, Cin­derel­la, Goldilocks, and Beau­ty and the Beast, intro­duce Hebrew words, pro­vide con­text for them, and offer oppor­tu­ni­ties for repeat­ed use of each term. For instance, Cin­derel­la begins Once upon a time, there lived a teenage girl [yal­dah] named Cin­derel­la who was very pret­ty [yafah]. The yal­dah, who was very yafah, lived in a small house [bay­it] with her step­moth­er and two step­sis­ters.” Each lev­el builds on the one before by using words learned in ear­li­er sto­ries along with new words. The Hebrew words appear in translit­er­a­tion, although the first inci­dence of a new vocab­u­lary word is accom­pa­nied by the Hebrew spelling. Each lev­el intro­duces approx­i­mate­ly 20 new words. Lev­el 4 (Pinoc­chio) and lev­el 5 (Jack and the Beanstalk) will be pub­lished soon. Over-the-top car­toon illus­tra­tions in bright can­dy col­ors add an ele­ment of mis­chie­vous fun. A CD accom­pa­nies each title, with a pleas­ant-voiced female nar­ra­tor read­ing the sto­ry aloud. Back­ground music and sound effects help to set the scene and mood. Although the pace of the read-aloud may be chal­leng­ing for some, the CD’s enhance the fun car­toon atmos­phere of each sto­ry. And of course, hear­ing the pro­nun­ci­a­tion of the vocab­u­lary is very help­ful. While the sto­ries them­selves have no Jew­ish or Israeli con­tent, their famil­iar­i­ty to Eng­lish speak­ers makes them ide­al vehi­cles for intro­duc­ing vocab­u­lary in an amus­ing, easy way. The series will make a high­ly use­ful addi­tion to Hebrew lan­guage class­rooms and to libraries that sup­port such pro­grams. Ages 5 – 10.
Hei­di Estrin is librar­i­an for the Feld­man Chil­dren’s Library at Con­gre­ga­tion B’nai Israel in Boca Raton, FL. She is a past chair of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee for the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries.

Discussion Questions