"Once there was a town called Chelm where there was no luck. If something could go wrong, it did. The roofs of the houses always leaked. The sidewalks were cracked. The gardens grew only weeds. Nothing was ever right." So begins best-selling children's author, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso (nearly 500,000 copies of her books are in print), in this charming, original story inspired by a Jewish folktale. Through her remarkable storytelling, Sandy Sasso has brought to life the mythical town of Chelm, and created another classic for reading aloud and discussing with children.
Butterflies Under Our Hats has been selected as a finalist for the Koret International Jewish Book Award in the BabagaNewz Children's Literature category! Congratulations to the author and illustrator!
|The residents of Chelm still have no common sense and no luck. They have given up-no longer building houses, repairing sidewalks or planting gardens. When a strange woman comes to town, she offers something better than luck-hope. Sure enough, beautiful butterflies land in the town square and the townspeople catch them under their hats, just as they are instructed to do. But when it begins to rain, the townspeople need their hats to keep dry. Of course, the butterflies fly away, reinforcing the lack-of-luck in Chelm. After a closer look, however, they see a trace of butterfly "powder" left behind under each hat. That seems to be all the hope they need to start rebuilding their houses, sidewalks and gardens. From then on, they focus on the traces of hope they had all along-right under their hats.|
As with all of Rabbi Sasso's books, the values here can be shared by people of all denominations. The gorgeous illustrations enhance the reader's experience, allowing the reader to feel the excitement and hope as it grows in Chelm, although the Chelm depicted here clearly has no roots in any Eastern European village. The book will inspire readers to look under their own "hats" when they think all is lost.
|Jewish Book World|
|December 1, 2006|
Like Ann Redisch Stampler's retelling of the traditional shtetl folktale Shlemazel and the Remarkable Spoon of Pohost, Sasso's original story also plays with the limits of luck. This time, however, things work out - but not because of work and love. In Chelm, legendary home of the Yiddish fools, there is no luck: "If something could go wrong, it did." And so the people give up---until a stranger comes to town who says that hope is better than luck. The newcomer brings in a cloud of fluttering butterflies, and even the trace of their presence brings hope. The wry Yiddish folk idiom is not a big part of the storytelling, and the impressionistic pictures (sometimes in the style of Chagall) may be too crowded for the young audience. But double-page spreads of the fluttering butterflies are gorgeous, and they bring home the message that there is something stronger than good fortune.
|July 16, 2006|
|In this story inspired by a Jewish folktale, had luck and bad attitudes are transformed when hope arrives in the form of a woman wearing a red hat and promising butterflies. And when there is hope, renewal begins in the town of Chelm, even though the townspeople's "roofs still leak and their sidewalks are still cracked." The frequent reader of this book will surely discover something new each time in the beautifully detailed and vibrant illustrations. Butterflies Under Our Hats would make a nice addition to the congregational library to complete a set of the fine children's books written by Rabbi Sasso. For ages 4-8.|
|church and synagogue library association|
|July 13, 2006|
|In a town called Chelm nothing was ever right. So the people looked for luck. When they could not find it, they gave up, until a beautiful woman in a purple hat appeared, saying there was something better than luck. She told them of butterflies of hope, and hope is better than luck. The butterflies came and the people placed their hats over the butterflies, saying, "Now we have hope." But when it began to rain, the people took back their hats, and the butterflies disappeared. "Now we have neither luck nor hope," they said.|
The wise woman said, "Look under your hats," for the butterflies had left traces of hope, and the people began building, repairing, planting, as we might, with Butterflies Under our Hats.
Children will enjoy the colorful illustrations and message, exploring what is under "their" hats, and Paul's letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13, emphasizing "faith, hope, and love."
Stories, books, have the power to paint pictures to lodge in the mind and heart. Butterflies Under Our Hats is an intergenerational tale children and adults alike can share.
|July 13, 2006|