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The Rooster Prince of Breslov    by Ann Redisch Stampler & Eugene Yelchin order for
Rooster Prince of Breslov
by Ann Redisch Stampler
Order:  USA  Can
Clarion, 2010 (2010)

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

One sure thing about folktales is that if they've survived countless years of oral retelling, they become tried and true subjects for written versions.

The Rooster Prince of Breslov is based on a Yiddish parable by Nachman of Breslov from almost two hundred years ago (and has also been known as The Turkey Prince). A spoiled prince has decided that he no longer wants to cooperate with his parents. He will not eat, go to school, or do anything else anyone wants him to do. He claims to be a rooster and does everything a rooster would do: he cock-a-doodle-dos, pecks at food thrown on the floor, takes all his clothes off, and struts around as a rooster would.

The prince's exasperated parents try everything but no one, not even the town's most competent physicians, can help.

Seemingly out of nowhere, an elderly man appears and promises the king and queen that he can turn the rooster prince back into a human prince in a week's time. Though initially skeptical, they allow him to do this, mostly out of desperation.

The man moves in with the prince and gradually gets the boy to return to human activities, adding one each day until by the end of the week, the boy still thinks he's a rooster, but is living as a human again.

Several scholarly interpretations of this story have been proffered, none of which are relevant for a children's book. From a parents' perspective, though, it seems as if the message is to be patient and empathize with children. Kids will simply get a kick out of seeing how far the prince can get away with his antics.

The author has written several other books based on Jewish folktales. Regardless of your ethnic or religious background, this is a very entertaining read with simple drawings that effectively illustrate this old parable.

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