Sunday, November 4, 2007

The benefits of a religious education

Despite a brief early foray into short reviews, I usually try not to name books on this blog for fear of coming up on publishing industry radar screens.

But Z.'s new favorite book is the hot-off-the-presses new edition of The C@stle on Hester Street, and it's really beautiful. The new illustrations are gorgeous and the story is a wonderful balance between the grandfather's tall tales and the grandmother's no-nonsense facts.

Here's what Z. said to this passage:

"Grandpa came on a boat, like I did. It was terrible. Hundreds of families were crowded together. Babies were crying. Bundles were piled over. The boat rocked so much, I thought we would drown. But in Russia, life for Jews was very hard.

"We couldn't live or work where we wanted. Sometimes we were attacked just because we were Jews. We had to leave Russia any way we could"

Z.'s response?

"Dat's just like PHA-roah!"

In related cultural capital news, we were talking with her about the teenagers who enacted the weird sister scenes from Macbeth, over and over, on our corner on Halloween. Did Z. think they were good witches or bad witches?

And of course this led to a discussion of Glinda and Dorothy. Z. has watched The Wizard of Oz exactly twice. But she told us dat Glinda asks Dowaty "Ah you a good witch ohrw a bad witch?" After two viewings! The kid's a queerspawn genius, I'm telling you.


Rachel said...

this is so cute to read! my framework for understanding everything when i was a small child was also through jewish mythology -- i was the product of jewish day schools from age 2-17. of course, now when i forget the basics, like a key vocab word in hebrew or some important detail about ritual, my parent's are always quick to make quips about the $100 000 they wasted on my Jewish education! i do remember pharaoh, though, just like Z.

elswhere said...

I love that book, and always wondered why it hadn't gotten more attention! At my old job I read it every year to the 2nd graders when they did their immigration unit. I haven't seen the new edition w/new illustrations, though-- it sounds great.

Magpie said...

Mine was Glinda for Halloween - it allowed me to buy a pink sparkly costume that wasn't a princess!

I've said this before, but I love how you render Z.'s toddler-speak.

Julia said...

Damn straight she is a genius. (get it? ha-ha, bad pun. sorry, couldn't resist)

S. said...

Hey, Rachel, welcome!

Elswhere, I don't know the old edition.

Magpie, the picture of Miss M. on your blog is great!

Julia: groaning!