A Sack Full of Feathers by Debby Waldman

There are some folktales that are centered around the need for a heroine to ignore ugly old people who want to stop them from marrying their dashing prince. They are tiresome and should be replaced at all costs by The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munch.

And then there are folktales that can actually offer good teachable moments. Sadly, they are often ugly, printed on cheap paper, with poor illustrations and lots of words on every page. The kind of book you only want to read if your child already has his/ her eyes closed.

A Sack Full of Feathers

A Sack Full of Feathers

And then there is A Sack Full of Feathers by Debby Waldman. While it takes place in an Eastern Europe shtetl, it has more colors than you can shake a stick at and is not parochially Jewish. What it is, is a great story that addresses children where they are at. Yankel is a storyteller — a child with a gift for telling stories and capturing his listeners attention. The problem is, his stories aren’t his own: they are stories he overhears and thinks he is repeating properly, with no concept of discretion or the subtleties around the truth. Basically, he is like many of my carpool kids, and my 5-year old, who repeat things not maliciously but because they don’t really know better. Enter the rabbi who wants to teach this boy a gentle lesson with a practical lesson on what happens to feathers (stories) when you let them loose.

It’s funny, it’s beautiful, it’s magical and it’s great for kids lacking discretion (and their parents too).

1 Comment »

  1. […] Debby Waldman’s Clever Rachel. Same author and illustrator (the fantastic Cindy Revell) as A Sack Full of Feathers means same great art, text and town. This time, the story is based on the old story of the […]

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