The Wooden Sword: A Jewish Folktale from Afghanistan
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The Wooden Sword: A Jewish Folktale from Afghanistan

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  36 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Disguised in servant's clothes, an Afghani shah slips out of his palace to learn more about his people. When he encounters a poor Jewish shoemaker full of faith that everything will turn out just as it should, the shah grows curious. Vowing that no harm will befall the poor man, he decides to test that faith, only to find that the shoemaker's cheerful optimism cannot be sh...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Albert Whitman & Company
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Lynda Shoup
This folktale from Afghanistan is a welcome addition to the folktale section. Of special remark is the last page in which the author documents her sources and the way in which this version was vetted for authenticity. This page could be very useful as an example about how it should be done. This is one I'll add to my purchase list.
The illustrations are rich with detail and the story flows nicely; between the shah's actions and the shoemaker's attitude there is lots to talk about here. PLUS it's well-researched, and sourced & cited thoroughly.
This was a very nice folktale from Afghanistan about faith, humility, and kindness. I'm not big into folktales, but I did enjoy this one.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Beautifully retold by Stampler and beautifully illustrated. Definitely one book to add to a collection of folk tales.
Alethea A
Of all her books, this is definitely my favorite.
Delightful folktale about wisdom and contentment.
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, the illustrations are nice, and this is a good example of that tradition Kurt Vonnegut talks about (which Americans don't have) of honoring the poor wise man. On the other hand, I couldn't help being irritated by the glorification of poverty and the poor man's Candide-esque assertions that it didn't matter whether he had enough money to buy food, because his faith would get him through. (And of course, when his wife is concerned about how they w...more
Jill Ratzan
Each of the aspects of this picturebook that stood out for me were also ones that Stampler mentions in her author's note! First, both negative characters (the bullying shah and the whining peasant) from some versions of this folktale have become positive ones (a change that's best, if paradoxically, appreciated by readers who know these versions). Second, although the peasant attributes his successes to a deity, his real rescuer is a combination of his own thoughts and actions and the circumstan...more
Sean Dugan-Strout
This Jewish folktale is a wonderful retelling by Ann Redisch Stampler, that presents issues of faith and bullying in a bright and colorful way. I especially liked the artwork; the acrylics on the pages make the story pop out. She uses beautiful and vibrant colors. It's nice to see Afghan tradition in children's literature.

Taylor Troncin
This book was read for Wesley’s summer reading club. Wesley is my (soon to be five year old) son. This review is what we used for his reading club.

This was an interesting story. It was a bit long for Wesley's attention span (he wanted to go play on the computer).
Such an intriguing Jewish story from Afghanistan. I also appreciated Stampler's author note, telling how she got interested and researched the background for writing this story.
Amanda Taylor
This was a cute book and most children would love it. It referenced God, belief, and faith so it probably shouldn't be a book in a public classroom.
Michelle Pegram
Michelle Pegram marked it as to-read
May 31, 2014
Kristen Herzog
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Where it Began marks the YA debut of Ann Redisch Stampler. She is the author of several picture books, including The Rooster Prince of Breslov. Her books have been an Aesop Accolade winner, Sydney Taylor notable books and an honor book, a National Jewish Book Awards finalist and winner, and Bank Street Best Books of the Year. Ann has two adult children and lives in Los Angeles, California with her...more
More about Ann Redisch Stampler...
Where It Began Afterparty The Rooster Prince of Breslov The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street Go Home, Mrs. Beekman!

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