INVISIBLE KINGDOMS by Howard Schwartz

INVISIBLE KINGDOMS

Jewish Tales of Angels, Spirits, and Demons
adapted by , illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 12

KIRKUS REVIEW

Ghosts, demons, spirits, and angels populate these tales gathered from Jewish folklore around the world. In one, a baby born with the ability to speak has an unfinished tale to tell from his previous life as a storyteller. The neighbors and a host of angels fill the house to hear the baby’s wondrous tale. When he finishes, the angel Lailah touches him above his lips, making him forget everything he knew in his previous life, including how to speak. In another, a river demon tricks a young girl into marrying him, but a court of rabbis defeats the demon’s logic and the girl is released from her vow. In “The Angel’s Sword,” a feisty rabbi not only finagles his way into Paradise without the usual step of dying, he manages to steal the Angel of Death’s sword. There are plenty of ghosts and graveyards here, and a cloak of invisibility, too. Like most folk and fairy tales, there is something very satisfying in the way everything turns out right in the end. The stories are weighed down by unnecessary verbiage—a common problem with writing in a folkloric or mythic style. Schwartz (The Day the Rabbi Disappeared, 2000, etc.) is a serious folklorist and his source notes explain the origin of each tale. Some of Fieser’s (The Silk Route, 1995) illustrations, for example the one for “The Angel’s Daughter,” are reminiscent of the soft, but heroic drawings of D’Aulaire. A welcome addition to the genre. (Folklore. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-027855-2
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2002




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