The Slangman Kids Foreign Language Through Fairy Tales series usesfamiliar stories to introduce basic vocabulary for a variety oflanguages; the Hebrew editions are those under review here. The threefairy tales in the series, Cinderella, Goldilocks, and Beauty and the Beast,introduce Hebrew words, provide context for them, and offeropportunities for repeated use of each term. For instance, Cinderellabegins “Once upon a time, there lived a teenage girl [yaldah] namedCinderella 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 earlierstories along with new words. The Hebrew words appear intransliteration, although the first incidence of a new vocabulary wordis accompanied by the Hebrew spelling. Each level introducesapproximately 20 new words. Level 4 (Pinocchio) and level 5 (Jack and the Beanstalk)will be published soon. Over-the-top cartoon illustrations in brightcandy colors add an element of mischievous fun. A CD accompanies eachtitle, 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, theCD’s enhance the fun cartoon atmosphere of each story. And of course,hearing the pronunciation of the vocabulary is very helpful. While thestories themselves have no Jewish or Israeli content, their familiarityto English speakers makes them ideal vehicles for introducing vocabularyin an amusing, easy way. The series will make a highly useful additionto Hebrew language classrooms and to libraries that support suchprograms. 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.