THE CHILDREN OF CHELM by David A. Adler

THE CHILDREN OF CHELM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Three tiny stories set in the fool's paradise of Chelm--two of which not only fall flat, they don't ring true. In the first, the local children protest so loudly at having to bathe in the river (""It's cold,"" ""I stepped on a frog,"" etc.) that ""a whole regiment of soldiers"" marches into town--no laughing matter in a shtetl. And to resolve the predicament, one of the elders observes that there's no difference if you ""save gold coins one at a time or find a purse filled with them""--a debatable proposition, especially among the poor--so the protesting children may as well take a year's baths at once, in short, unobjectionable dips. The second story is predicated--somewhat dubiously too--on such awe at the beauty of the snow that no one wants to mar it with footsteps (hence the schoolchildren are carried home, foolishly, by their fathers); and the third turns, more conventionally, on a child's suggestion that rolling stones down a hill would be easier than carrying them--whereupon her elders carry the stones up the hill again so they can roll them down. The last is comical if unoriginal; the first two seem, in varying degrees, contrived--and, like the broad illustrations, not very clever.

Pub Date: March 3rd, 1980
Publisher: Bonim