As good as gold­fish

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - BY AN­GELA KIVERSTEIN

Fly to Never Never Land, con­verse with birds, meet Mar­maduke the Man from the Moon and join in the Gold­fish Song, with Joe and his Magic Snout. For all mem­bers of the fam­ily to en­joy to­gether, this “op­eretta of nurs­ery fairy tales” by Hy­man Vivian Baron Co­hen (Austin Ma­cauley, £6.99) mixes fa­mil­iarand­new(suchas­the­gentle­man bird, nat­u­ral com­pan­ion to the lady­bird) and will en­cour­age young lis­ten­ers to sing along. Even the glos­sary is a hoot, com­pris­ing f i v e words for a hooter. Pro­ceeds sup­port a can­cer-re­search schol­ar­ship at the He­brew Univer­sity in mem­ory of the au­thor’s late wife.

With a gun in his snout, Laf­ca­dio the lion vol­un­teers to be a liv­ing hearth-rug, ly­ing obe­di­ently in front of the fire­place. The hunter re­fuses — but finds him­self out of bul­lets and Laf­ca­dio re­sponds ac­cord­ingly (the hunter’s woollen hat tastes par­tic­u­larly nasty). Thus be­gins a fas­ci­na­tion with shoot­ing for Shel Sil­ver­stein’s Laf­ca­dio, the Lion who Shot Back (reis­sued by Pushkin, £12.99). He grows fa­mous, de­vours marsh­mal­lowsby the hun­dred, learns to wear suits and dines in ho­tels. But whatwill­hap­pen when he is in­vited on a hunt­ing trip? The philo­soph­i­cal mes­sage is in­con­clu­sive but Un­cle Shelby’s arch nar­ra­tive voice and Sil­ver­stein’s draw­ings of stretchy-bod­ied lions make this a great book for shar­ing. Age five to adult.

A small girl stars in New York’s an­nual cel­e­bra­tory Is­rael march, in Meg Gold­berg on Pa­rade, a rhyming pic­ture book by An­dria Warm­flash Rosenbaum (Kar-Ben, £5.99). Pow­ered only by her imag­i­na­tion, Meg shares a para­sol with the mayor, hums the Hatik­vah while stilt-walk­ing, meets a camel and leads a band. Christo­pher Lyles’s il­lus­tra­tions use crayon and de­coupage to con­vey Meg’s child-like cre­ativ­ity. Un­der-fives will en­joy Meg’s ad­ven­tures, while re­ceiv­ing a pos­i­tive vibe about Is­rael.

Elisha David­son and the Is­pak­laria (Meno­rah, £12) is part two of M. R. At­tar’s Harry Pot­ter-like saga with a Jerusalem/Jewish tex­tual back­ground. An is­pak­laria is a mir­ror-like re­flec­tion of one’s heart and soul — and a mas­sive shiny stone in Elisha’s bed­room.

To­gether with for­mer va­grant and priestly heir Aaron Kohen, Elisha must carry out a spir­i­tual mis­sion.

This is an ex­cit­ing, mostly non­preachy and oc­ca­sion­ally baf­fling fan­tasy. Age 11 up.

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