Joseph and the Sabbath Fish (Shabbat)

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9780761359081: Joseph and the Sabbath Fish (Shabbat)

Retells the story of Joseph, who is rewarded for honoring the Sabbath by being generous to others even after he, himself, becomes poor.

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About the Author:

Martina Peluso studied at the Art Institute of Naples. Her artwork has been exhibited throughout the world and she has illustrated several children's books. She lives in Naples, Italy with her cats Peppe and Ernesto.

Review:

"Kimmel brings satisfyingly warm detail to a well-known folktale, in an elegant picture book set long ago on the shores of Galilee. Joseph of Tiberius loves to celebrate the Sabbath by selecting choice ingredients when preparing food and inviting all to share dinner with him. When his neighbor, Judah, scoffs that Joseph needs to be more selective, Joseph insists that the honor he gives to the Sabbath by keeping his house open is returned 'a thousandfold.' When Joseph's fortunes turn and he becomes poor, those he has helped now share in providing food so that the Sabbath table is still filled with people. Judah, however, dreams that Joseph is in possession of his wealth and he sells all that he owns, buys a ruby and sets sail. A storm whips the cap with the jewel from Judah's head and flings it into the sea. The ruby reappears inside a large fish, which Joseph's wife is preparing, changing Joseph's fortunes once again. When Judah returns, now poorer, he turns down Joseph's offer to give him the ruby's value. He would rather have Joseph's friendship and the opportunity to share the Sabbath with him. Peluso's two-page spreads fill pages to the edge, intense with jewel pastel and ink detail, blues and purples and the green of the fish. She draws solid, stately figures with stylized beards and a mysterious spark of animation in their eyes. It is true teamwork. Is the woman who later shows up as Joseph's wife one of the neighbors whom Joseph welcomed when he was no longer wealthy? Like Joseph, Kimmel has taken care to honor tradition while adding his own inimitable storytelling touches."--Jewish Book Council

"Award-winner Kimmel retells a Jewish fable of greed and generosity. At Joseph's weekly Sabbath table, all are welcomed--rich or poor, young or old. Joseph's neighbor, Judah, also sets a bountiful table each week, but he prefers to invite only important people to his Sabbath meal; he gives his charity to the beggars in the street. Judah chastises Joseph for his excessive hospitality and correctly predicts that he will soon lose all his wealth. A foreboding dream warns Judah that he, too, might lose his fortune and that Joseph will one day count Judah's money for himself. Judah, shaken, sells his property, buys a large ruby and leaves Tiberias by sea--and loses the jewel, the last of his wealth, in a strong storm. Returning to Tiberias, he approaches the always kind and benevolent Joseph for help. Joseph's luck has once again changed with a fish he received at market: Cutting it open revealed the ruby Judah lost. As in Marilyn Hirsh's Joseph Who Loved the Sabbath, illustrated by Devis Grebu (1986), Kimmel reconciles the differing attitudes through a conclusion about the importance of celebrating the Sabbath 'with an open door and an open heart.' Blended shades of blues, purples and greens done in watercolor, pen and pastel illuminate the old Israeli scenes integral to the narration. Heartwarming for Jewish collections and religious-school settings." --Kirkus Reviews

"Retold by a master storyteller, this new version of a classic tale is an all-around delight. Woven together with the joys of Sabbath celebrations are themes of generosity, hospitality, and the true meaning of wealth. The engaging prose and vibrant, colorful illustrations create a perfect picture book for home or library" --Dayton Jewish Observer

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