SHOLOM’S TREASURE by Erica Silverman


How Sholom Aleichem Became a Writer
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 10
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A picture-book biography of Sholom Aleichem focuses not on his work as an adult, but on how the child grew to become the writer. Young Sholom Rabinowitz admires his father’s ability to make others laugh, and quickly learns that he shares it—though it frequently gets him into trouble. As the family moves from a shtetl to a larger town, accumulating 12 children, and a stepmother after Sholom’s mother dies, the child hones his talents of mimicry and wordplay, collecting his stepmother’s colorful insults and beginning to write on his own. Silverman’s text moves quickly, using dialogue adapted from Aleichem’s own memoir and focusing on Sholom’s desire to make his father proud—to present him with a treasure. Gerstein’s loose lines and bright colors bristle with energy and humor, presenting a wide-eyed boy who nevertheless possesses a wicked sense of fun, as he assumes the characters of those around him—who will later take on literary life in his stories. Although most in the audience will be unfamiliar with Aleichem, they will identify with the child’s dual wishes to please his father and to excel. (author’s note, afterword, sources) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)

Pub Date: March 11th, 2005
ISBN: 0-374-38055-4
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2005


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