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THE BALL OF CLAY THAT ROLLED AWAY by Elizabeth Lenhard

THE BALL OF CLAY THAT ROLLED AWAY

By Elizabeth Lenhard (Author) , Jason Wolff (Illustrator)

Age Range: 3 - 5

Pub Date: May 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7614-6142-5
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

An irksome version of the traditional cumulative tale adds little to the collection of Jewish literature.

At Camp Knish, a ball of clay escapes the arts-and-crafts cabin, vowing never to be cut. It rolls through the camp as a growing group of look-a-like campers with names like Mira Farfelbottom and Mose Plotznik, along with Rabbi Shmaltzbaum give chase. Not wanting to be formed into a menorah, dreidel, kiddush cup or even a yad (pointer for reading Torah), the bedeviled ball of clay manages to get to the bank of Camp Knish Lake. Once there, he is “more like a pancake of clay…dented, dinged, and dirtied; stained, pebbled, and pounded” but still able to brag about his escape. One last roll has him sinking to the bottom, never to be seen again by the likes of Tali Nudgeblatt and her fellow campers. Colored-pencil drawings of typical camp scenarios with wooden cabins, soccer games, Israeli circle dancing and vegetable gardening along a green-hued meadow landscape provide a stereotypical background for the tale. The ball of clay itself is a tumbling, gray, lumpy mass with a snarky expression. The vexing choice to use faux-Yiddish names exacerbates its tiresome effect. This poorly executed adaptation is utterly lacking in ingenuity.

Leave this one behind when packing kids for their summer-camp experience. (Picture book. 3-5)