CM . . .
. Volume VIII Number 13 . . . . March 1, 2002
old Russia were persecuted by the Tsar and his minions. They were subjected
to harsh restrictive laws and the threat of violent pogroms at any time.
Most Jews did whatever they could to make themselves invisible. So when
the Tsar's soldier thunders into the village on horseback demanding
the people help cure the Crown Prince's malady (he thinks he's a rooster),
no one cares to get involved. When had the Tsar ever done anything good
for them? But Avron, the son of a poor Jewish family, is kidnaped by
the soldier as he takes a chicken to the shochet to be slaughtered and
koshered for the Friday night meal. Avron must use his wits to cure
the Crown Prince's obvious mental illness and escape a terrible unknown
fate for himself. It takes a few days, but soon the Crown Prince is
again dressing in clothes and eating at tables. He occasionally emits
The Rooster Prince is a retelling of an old Jewish parable about how the wise man (the rabbi, the tzaddik) can only raise the people to a higher spiritual level if he goes down to where they are (on the ground) and understands their thinking. Based on the 18th century version of the story, Avron becomes wiser, more mature and able to deal with the complexities of life, and the Prince - well, he still crows "Cockadoodledoo" occasionally, but he has figured out how to live with other human beings.
Children will laugh at this story, but learn from Avron's experience that being tolerant and putting themselves in another person's shoes (or mind set) can help more than any pleading or orders. The use of large type (and Hebrew style letters) for words that are shouted will encourage children to read this book loudly. The illustrations, especially of the Prince in distress and the mean Tsar, are slightly scary. Luckily, a warm family scene concludes the tale.
Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.