Books by Yossi Abolafia

THE GOLDEN BELL by Tamar Sachs
by Tamar Sachs, illustrated by Yossi Abolafia, translated by Nancy Wellins
Released: March 1, 2019

"Some children will demand a more traditional ending, but readers with a contemplative nature—or at least a sense of humor—will be more than satisfied. (Picture book. 4-9)"
This Israeli import may set a new record for delayed gratification. Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 1, 2007

First published as a Greenwillow stand-alone in 1985, this welcome I Can Read entry features Abolafia's updated, full-color illustrations for Prelutsky's 14 poetic explorations of the not-too-scary night. Prelutsky engages the reader conspiratorially by leading with the title poem, for which the artist supplies the resourceful brown-haired narrator with flash-lit books and model rocket parts, substituting an electronic game gadget for the earlier transistor radio. The pictures provide some amusing extensions. The lad dreamily plans his nighttime snack attack in "Chocolate Cake:" "I will slip into the kitchen/ without any noise or light, / and if I'm really careful, / I will have that cake tonight." In the facing picture, he catches his like-minded dad with cake in hand, cheeks bulging. The poems focus on gentle, philosophical musings about day, night, sun and sky, and the boy's mastery of his own nighttime fears is a developmentally appropriate touch. A nicely repackaged addition to a genre much needed within the easy-reader realm: poetry. (Easy reader. 5-8)Read full book review >
IT’S SNOWING! IT’S SNOWING! by Jack Prelutsky
Released: March 1, 2006

The magical excitement of winter is the focus of this entry in the I Can Read series from prolific poet Prelutsky, who offers 16 rhyming poems for children who are reading fluently on their own. The poems are set with a longer line length, and in large type with lots of white space between lines, giving the effect of an illustrated story rather than a poetry collection, and making this collection easier to read than most poetry for new readers. Most of the poems are humorous or just plain silly fun in Prelutsky's familiar fashion, but a few are more introspective, adding a touch of melancholy to the more exuberant offerings. The appealing illustrations by Abolafia follow one dark-haired little boy and his dog as they explore their wintry world: skating, throwing snowballs and creating a jolly snowman friend who is poignantly reduced to just a black hat, a carrot and lumps of coal on the final page. (Poetry. 5-9)Read full book review >
HARRY'S PONY by Barbara Ann Porte
Released: Aug. 1, 1997

Harry (Harry's Birthday, 1994, etc.) is back, this time in a tender tale about what to do with a pony he's won by writing an essay. He is elated, of course, but his father urges him to accept the alternate prize—a bicycle. The problems of keeping a horse give Harry plenty to consider, but he is persistent, and with his friends, Dorcas and Eddie, comes up with creative potential solutions to zoning regulations, upkeep, and practical considerations. Just when he's about to give up and settle on the bicycle, Harry visits Aunt Rose and her jazz band. Wild Mamie, the wheelchair-bound clarinetist, has a solution: Harry contributes the pony to a farm where children with disabilities learn to ride. In plain words, this is an adorable book about generosity and compromise. Porte's understated narrative touches the heart, while Abolafia's expressive illustrations add to all the fun. (Fiction. 5-8) Read full book review >
CLEAN HOUSE by Jessie Haas
Released: April 1, 1996

Tess is glad that Kate, ``the cousin she'd liked best last year at the big family picnic,'' is coming for a visit, but her mother, remembering Aunt Alice's spotless house, rushes to exile the family pets and remove all of their cheerful, feel-good clutter. The antiseptic result pleases no one, but the weekend is saved when the comfortable mess is happily restored; all the action is jovially captured in Abolafia's antic line drawings. While constructed on the obvious joke of cleaning for the relatives, this chapter book is an affectionate, good-natured romp with a homey message and plenty of rowdy fun. Not content with chewed shoes, skidding rugs, and overturned furniture, Haas (Mowing, 1994, etc.) turns a dog, a cat, a string toy, and a vacuum cleaner into an inspired moment of comic lunacy. (Fiction. 6-9) Read full book review >
HARRY'S BIRTHDAY by Barbara Ann Porte
Released: April 1, 1994

Harry is eagerly planning for his party: reminding friends that he wants a cowboy hat; passing their horror stories on to Dad (Dorcas did enjoy someone else's party—where the clown was such a draw that her own, planned for the same day, had to be canceled—but she got no presents); hearing Aunt Rose's tales of birthdays long ago. Including features from both the parties described plus some new ones, Harry and Dad negotiate a celebration that's not over-elaborate but still fun; and the birthday boy's enthusiasm is such that even getting seven cowboy hats is OK. Readers of earlier books about Harry will welcome this amiable sixth; again, Abolafia's cheerful cartoons reflect the spirit of disarmingly true-to-life people, with a real gift for working through problems creatively. (Young reader/Picture book. 5-9) Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1993

For the family introduced in The Take-Along Dog (1989), almost anything occasions a story—be it embroidered reminiscence or whole-cloth invention. The Taxicab Tales (1992) were about Dad's experiences on the job; the ones here are prompted by pictures—artist Mom's work; a reproduction of a ``famous painting''; Sam's finger-painting; Abigail's drawing of a horse- -each setting off an offbeat story told by one family member egged on by the others' questions. Whether it's Abigail's tale about how the man in her mother's picture for an insurance magazine got so many broken bones, or Sam's rationalization for his rooster facing away from the morning sun (``See, this way it doesn't have to squint''), Abigail's (i.e., Porte's) voice is entrancing. Like a vivacious child telling every little thing— but somehow, miraculously, only what you really want to know—she keeps the book moving with unexpected plot-twists, comical detail, impeccable timing, and a rare ear for natural, funny dialogue. Abolafia's b&w cartoon-style art captures this nice family's warmth as well as their wit. An early chapter book that's sure to keep them reading. (Fiction/Young reader. 5-10) Read full book review >
AM I BEAUTIFUL? by Else Holmelund Minarik
Released: Aug. 19, 1992

While Mother Hippo wallows, Young Hippo takes a walk. Overhearing other animals admiring their young, he politely asks, "Am I beautiful, too?" Laudably tactful, each evades the question—"That's not for me to say," opines Mother Lion, while Father Heron allows that he can't tell: "You have no feathers. Best...ask someone at home." After a lady cuddling her baby just laughs at him, Young Hippo hurries back to Mother Hippo to be reassured that he's "the most beautiful of all, because you are mine!" Though the lessons are obvious, they're gently made in this well-honed, repetitive tale. Abolafia's cheerfully ingenuous characters, deftly drawn in a cartoony style and colored, more subtly, in watercolor, make a perfect accompaniment. An engaging variant on a familiar theme; just right for sharing. (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >
TAXICAB TALES by Barbara Ann Porte
Released: March 27, 1992

Ten vignettes from the lives of a Manhattan cabdriver and his family, faithfully recorded by his daughter Abigail—despite her occasional doubts that Daddy's stories about his more unusual passengers (a man wearing a donkey head, a boy with a pet goose) are 100% true. The matter-of-fact style—long on dialogue, short on description—and rather abrupt endings to some chapters are appropriate, given the narrator's age. Definitions of a few special words—``matinee,'' ``maharani,'' ``concierge,'' ``penthouse''—are worked into the dialogue, apparently just for fun since the plot could get on without them. Abolafia's color illustrations (e.g., for Porte's Harry books) are somewhat more appealing than the b&w drawings here; still, these are in keeping with the small-scale, amiable stories. Children who met this good-humored, slightly offbeat family in The Take-Along Dog (1989) will enjoy finding out more about them in this early chapter book. (Fiction. 5-10) Read full book review >
HARRY GETS AN UNCLE by Barbara Ann Porte
Released: Aug. 19, 1991

Fifth in a winning series about a boy whose dog lives with his aunt because his single dad is allergic; the boy's now embroiled in a wedding as warmhearted and casually interracial as Hughes's in The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Storybook (1989). The inevitable mishaps differ amusingly from friend Dorcas's doleful predictions (based on her experience as a flower girl); Abolafia again illustrates with affection and panache. (Easy reader. 4-8) Read full book review >
FOX TALE by Yossi Abolafia
Released: April 26, 1991

A trickster gets his well-deserved, cleverly devised comeuppance: When Bear gives Fox honey in exchange for Fox's tail, it's the last of several unfair deals. Egged on by Fox's previous victims, Bear assiduously tends his fine new tailespecially while the still-attached Fox is trying to sleepuntil Fox makes full restitution, and more. Abolafia's humorously ingenuous animal characters and pastoral backgrounds, more than a little reminiscent of Steig's, are the perfect complement to his comically eventful story. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >