The traditional tale of three wishes gone wrong is here retold with a Jewish flavor as a magic meat grinder helps a junk man and his wife remember what’s important in life.
In storyteller Davis’ version, Koppel and Yetta dream of gems, a jewelry store, a throne and a mountain of cheesecake, but they end up with kishka on Koppel's nose instead. The tale is told in rapid-fire dialogue appropriately reminiscent of borscht-belt humor. Yiddish terms, including those in the title, are defined in a glossary. Cohen’s acrylic paintings facing the text add to the humor. One wordless double-page spread, repeated on the back cover, shows the couple’s fantastic dreams. Careful details bring their world to life. Fallen leaves in the city alley echo the junkman’s loss of hope. Their tiny house is filled with trash on one side but has a tidy, carefully swept living area, complete with clarinet and music stand. At the end, the grinder’s whirring handle emphasizes the couple’s contentment in their small domestic circle. The theme of gratitude is a familiar one for the author of Bagels from Benny (illustrated by Dušan Petricic, 2003) and makes a nice addition to this often-told tale, which lacks only an acknowledgement of sources.
A fresh look at an old favorite. (Picture book. 4-8)