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Yakov and the Seven Thieves

(Five Books for Children #3)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  436 ratings  ·  41 reviews
This book was inspired by the Baal Shem Tov, a great teacher who lived in the Ukraine in the 18th century.

It is a story about how all of us have the ability to unlock the gates of heaven--no matter how unworthy we think we are. For when we go against out selfish natures, we make miracles happen, in our lives and in the lives of others.

We must never forget that hidden beh
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published June 17th 2004 by Callaway Editions (first published January 1st 2004)
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3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  436 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Linda Lipko
I was skeptical when I saw the author listed as "Madonna!" Then, I opened the book to find lush, lovely images that enticed me to purchase it.

I need not have worried; the story is lovely and Gennady Spirin is one of my favorite illustrators/artist.

A cobbler by the name of Yakov has one child, a son who is gravely ill. Despite all attempts to cure him, Yakov and his wife, Olga, grow increasingly frightened when their son is slipping away. Hearing of a man of healing who lives in the last house of
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
Maybe an extra star for the illustrations.

Gennady Spirin is an illustrator I love, and it astonished me that he had worked on a book with Madonna. The story is not the worst book I have read but it desperately needs editing. The tone is all over the place, at times suggesting a mode of self-consciousness which is anachronistic. The descriptions of the thieves are cloying in an attempt to be humourous: one thief's attributes rhyme in a sort of triplet, and the rest are depicted in ordinary prose,
May 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Eh. This story was a bit too preachy and not entertaining enough for the lesson to sink in.
Hendrix Eva
May 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
"Midget"?? I wouldn't read this to my child.
Ginny Erisman
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nice art.
Tory Haberman
Oct 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Yakov and the Seven Thieves by Madonna and illustrated by Gennady Spirin is about a man named Yakov who had a young son named Mikhail who was very ill. His illness was a mystery and only a miracle could save him. So, he and his wife Olga decided to seek advice from a wise old man who lived in the last house at the edge of the village. Yakov arrived at the house and met both the wise old man and his grandson Pavel. The wise old man then told Yakov he would pray to heaven, not realizing that his p ...more
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book was slightly better than The Adventures of Abdi, but I still found it rather unappealing. The fairy tale inspired story is a wonderful start (it channels a certain Hans Christian Andersen vibe with its focus on prayer and a child protagonist who must be saved by its caring parents), but I found the choice of illustrative style to not match well with the story. By naming the protagonist Yakov, they immediately place the story in Eastern Europe, a setting which is further compounded by t ...more
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
I've been hearing this rumor about Madonna. Why has she remained famous all these years? Oh well, coz she paid the devil her soul. I dunno if it's true.

But then, after reading one of her children's books, I think it's not true. She just emphasized on the power of prayer.

Set in a European place, Yakov and the Seven Thieves, is a story that gives us a lesson...that no matter how bad a person is, the gates of Heaven can still be opened. The main character is Yakov, who is having a sick son named Mi
Nancy Freund
Aug 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very cute, with wonderful illustrations by Russian-born, New Jersey artist Gennady Spirin. The front flap explains that the story is inspired by the Baal Shem Tov, a great teacher who lived in the Ukraine in the 18th century. The tone of the story seems to match this other-era, other worldliness. It's not quite a fairy tale, but there are definite elements of that in both the story and the illustrations. Anyone who listens to Madonna's lyrics must recognize an open-minded spirituality at the cen ...more
Alyssa Laane
Jul 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I have had this since I was probably thirteen. My mom bought it for me and I thought it was the coolest thing but never actually read it. I finally have read it today after so many years of staring at it from my bed.

It was an interesting book,very different,style-wise for myself. Not something I am use to reading. It had more of an 'old time' feel to it. I enjoyed the book for what it was. Probably not something I'd go to again unless reading to my little cousins. But it was a nice little read.
Oct 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
Each of her stories is as precious as the rest. Madonna writes these stories in a wonderful way which appeals to adults as well as to young children.

In this story, Yakov and Olga’s son is very sick and Yakov does not believe he will live much longer. Heeding the direction of Olga, Yakov headed to the house of the Old Wise Man, needing a miracle. Ultimately, the man needed the help of seven thieves from town in order to heal Yakov’s son.

The old man said that it is only by acknowledging the faults
Francisca Olivia
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, children
This is one my favorite childhood story ever. Yakov, as a loving parent, afraid that the grim reaper might take his son's life for eternity.

He struggled to find a way to free his son from the gate of death. However, the way to cure his son is really strange and considered 'dangerous'.

I found The Seven Thieves are really, really unique. Too bad there's only a little description about each characters mentioned in the book. Anyway, the graphic's great.
Tia Hall
Feb 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
My children and I absolutely LOVE this book. Yes, I know, I know, it IS by Madonna. She simply has retold and old Ukranian story...but with fantastically beautiful illustrations that make one want to cry! This story itself is so redeeming and sweet and has a wonderful message. I bought this at the book fair, and paid $20 for it, which is out of my league for a childrens' book, but we have been very satisfied, and I have NO buyers remorse for this one! I recommend this book to everyone!
Tom Franklin
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
Retelling a folk tale is harder than it might seem. As well, you need to have experience with the craft of writing, especially if it is a book for children.

The illustrations by Gennady Spirin are beautiful. They are rich in color and detail, helping to keep this book from sinking farther than the author's writing should have allowed it to sink.
Mar 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have to say I like Madonna's children's books much better than I like her musical career, or even who she presents herself as in public. The pictures are fantastic, and even though I am not Christian in the least I did find this story cute in a way I never thought I would say about anything in connection with Madonna.
Aug 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
Long, devoid of magic, and an ending whose moral was needlessly spelled out. If this is based on the Baal Shem Tov - which I haven't read - then I'm even more disappointed because Madonna's task should have been that much easier.
Jul 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Not my favorite, but my young daughter was able to explain it's message as to why the wise old man would seek the town's thieves and pickpockets to help him unlock the gates of Heaven and save a small boy from death.
Aug 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Liked the story (and again, the artwork is great), but the 'power of prayer' thing isn't for me. I even think this book sends the wrong message (i.e. 'prayer can heal the sick'). The introduction of the thieves was very funny, so still three stars.
Apr 07, 2009 marked it as will-never-read
Because Madonna is just the person to write a story about people named Yakov, Olga, and Mikhail.
Sep 22, 2010 rated it liked it
A good message, but a little weird.
Nov 23, 2008 added it
another great story that is interesting for kids. Madonna should give up singing and just write books.
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was actually looking for a good story since it had a good start, but it suddenly ended. Would have been better if the story was longer. Great artwork. Still think the story could have been better.
Dec 09, 2011 rated it did not like it
This was a horrible book. The only reason I am giving it one star is because of the illustrations, which deserve many stars.

This is a presumptious book without much thought. Bleck, bleck, bleck.
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio-books
I am not a great fan of Madonna, the singer, but I really like her voice. I must say this is a delightful book, well thoughtout, good story, wonderful illustrations. it is well worth the read.
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, youth
Story is lackluster. Illustrations are beautiful.
Mpur Chan
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Madonna's works as usual... are full of deep meaning. Including this one
Jan 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous illustrations! Retelling of an old folk story about finding goodness where one would least expect to find it.
Sep 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A great storybook! It teaches us the power of prayer.
Mrs. Watts
Apr 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: elementary
gorgeous illustrations
Nov 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-to-kids
The story is worth 2 stars at the most, while the illustrations are worth 5. I'll have to average that out to 3 I guess!
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Madonna Louise Ciccone is an American pop singer-songwriter. Through her music career, she has also gained some notability as a dancer, record producer, film producer, actress, author and a fashion icon. She is a multiple Grammy- and Golden Globe-award winner, known for her ambitious music videos, stage performances and use of sexual and religious themes in her work.

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