• Review
By – November 21, 2011

A col­lec­tion of short sto­ries, all set in Chelm, the vil­lage of fools, take place around the hol­i­day of Hanukkah. We meet sev­er­al inter­est­ing vil­lagers, includ­ing Mrs. Chaip­ul (who is wise but makes infe- rior pota­to latkes), Rab­bi Kib­b­itz, (the town rab­bi), and Lit­tle Doo­dle (the vil­lage orphan), who is the hero of the most out­stand­ing sto­ry enti­tled Out of the Woods.” It is longer and has a more cohe­sive plot than do the oth­er tales. In this thir­ty-five-page sto­ry, the Cos­sacks ride into Chelm in order to pro­cure (i.e. steal) food and pro­vi­sions while the Chelmites flee and hide out in the for­est. The book is fol­lowed by a glos­sary and notes. In this anthol­o­gy, the read­er is intro­duced to many sil­ly Chelmites and also to the life of Jews in East­ern Europe at an ear­li­er time in his­to­ry. By and large the sto­ries are light in tone and con­tent, and all of them have pre­vi­ous­ly been pub­lished in mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers, such as Crick­et, Jew­ish Dai­ly For­ward, Wash­ing­ton Jew­ish Week, and oth­ers. Accord­ing to a note by the author, his book is based on a CD from his sto­ry­telling tour. Ages 8 – 12.

Shelly Feit has an M.L.S. and a Sixth-year Spe­cial­ist’s Cer­tifi­cate in infor­ma­tion sci­ence. She is the library direc­tor and media spe­cial­ist at the Mori­ah School in Engle­wood, NJ.

Discussion Questions