From Foe to Friend & Oth­er Stories

S.Y. Agnon; Shay Charka
  • Review
By – November 17, 2014

This intro­duc­tion for Eng­lish-speak­ing young read­ers to clas­sic Israeli writer and Nobel lau­re­ate S. Y. Agnon is a won­der­ful idea. In this cre­ative book, not­ed Israeli artist Shay Char­ka has rein­ter­pret­ed three of Agnon’s time­less tales as graph­ic art in new iter­a­tions guar­an­teed to appeal, which will make Agnon famil­iar to yet anoth­er generation.

The first sto­ry con­cerns the attempt of the pro­tag­o­nist to tame the wind. The sec­ond is a painful and poignant tale of the eter­nal long­ing of the Jew­ish peo­ple for the land of Israel. The third is a mys­ti­cal folk tale that tick­les the imag­i­na­tion and pro­vides food for thought and is par­tic­u­lar­ly appro­pri­ate to the graph­ic art form as it explores the rela­tion­ship between lit­er­a­ture and art.

The illus­tra­tions are extra­or­di­nary in their use of col­or, line, and facial expres­sion; the atmos­phere of each sto­ry comes alive through the art as well as the lan­guage. This book is a near­ly per­fect mar­riage of word and image.

High­ly rec­om­mend­ed for ages 12 and up.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

Discussion Questions