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Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts
A Literary Cookbook
retold by Jane Yolen; recipes by Heidi E.Y. Stemple; illustrations by Sima Elizabeth Shefrin

published 2012 • 8.25" x 10.25" • 200 pages • full-color • ages 5-11
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New paperback edition available Fall 2019!

Master storyteller Jane Yolen and her daughter Heidi Stemple have teamed up to bring the magic of their acclaimed Fairy Tale Feasts to the time-honored and delicious traditions of Jewish storytelling and cuisine. Here you’ll find Yolen’s dynamic, enchanting retellings of Jewish tales from around the world paired with Stemple’s recipes—for everything from challah to matzo brei to pomegranate couscous, tzimmes chicken, and rugelah, in creative versions of classic dishes that any family will delight in cooking together. And Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts is more than collection of stories and recipes: Yolen and Stemple imagine their readers as co-conspirators. Throughout they share fun facts and anecdotes about the creation of the stories and the history of the dishes, designed to encourage future cooks and storytellers to make up their own versions. Readers of all ages will learn about Jewish folktales, culture, and cooking, all the while captivated by the humor and wisdom of these enduring stories (and ready to eat!).

All the stories have been retold by the amazingly prolific Jane Yolen, who has been called “America’s Hans Christian Andersen.” She is the distinguished author of over 200 books, including Fairy Tale Feasts, Owl Moon and Devil’s Arithmetic. Born and raised in New York City, Jane Yolen now lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. She attended Smith College and received her master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts. Jane Yolen is a person of many talents. When she is not writing, Yolen composes songs, is a professional storyteller on the stage, and is the busy wife of a university professor, the mother of three grown children, and a grandmother. Active in several organizations, Yolen has been on the Board of Directors of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, was president of the Science Fiction Writers of America from 1986 to 1988, is on the editorial board of several magazines, and was a founding member of the Western New England Storytellers Guild, the Western Massachusetts Illustrators Guild, and the Bay State Writers Guild. For twenty years, she ran a monthly writer's workshop for new children's book authors. In 1980, when Yolen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee, Massachusetts, the citation recognized that “throughout her writing career she has remained true to her primary source of inspiration--folk culture.” Folklore is the “perfect second skin,” writes Yolen. “From under its hide, we can see all the shimmering, shadowy uncertainties of the world.” Folklore, she believes, is the universal human language, a language that children instinctively feel in their hearts. All of Yolen's stories and poems are somehow rooted in her sense of family and self. The Emperor and the Kite, which was a Caldecott Honor Book in 1983 for its intricate papercut illustrations by Ed Young, was based on Yolen's relationship with her late father, who was an international kite-flying champion. Owl Moon, winner of the 1988 Caldecott Medal for John Schoenherr's exquisite watercolors, was inspired by her husband's interest in birding. Yolen's graceful rhythms and outrageous rhymes have been gathered in numerous collections. She has earned many awards over the years: the Regina Medal, the Kerlan Award, the World Fantasy Award, the Society of Children's Book Writers Award, the Mythopoetic Society's Aslan Award, the Christopher Medal, the Boy's Club Jr. Book Award, the Garden State Children's Book Award, the Daedalus Award, a number of Parents' Choice Magazine Awards, and many more. Her books and stories have been translated into Japanese, French, Spanish, Chinese, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Afrikaans, !Xhosa, Portuguese, and Braille. With a versatility that has led her to be called "America's Hans Christian Andersen," Yolen, the child of two writers, is a gifted and natural storyteller. Perhaps the best explanation for her outstanding accomplishments comes from Jane Yolen herself: “I don't care whether the story is real or fantastical. I tell the story that needs to be told.”

Heidi Stemple has enjoyed and refined her recipes many times with her daughter and helper, Maddison Jane. Stemple is also the author of many children’s books, including Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight, and One If By Land.

Sima Elizabeth Shefrin lives and paints on Gabriola Island, British Columbia. She is a well-known cloth and collage artist and is especially interested in the ways that art brings together people of different cultures. She illustrated Once Upon a Bathtime and the award-winning Abby's Birds.

Media Reviews

“These 18 stories reflect a wide representation of Jewish beliefs and oral history, springing not just from Eastern European Yiddish-speaking lands, but also from the Middle East…Yolen carefully documents her research and her rationale for retelling each chosen tale…collage art and paint creates bold, almost abstract figures…kid friendly…valuable as an entrée to Jewish literature…the recipes are a nice bonus.”—Kirkus

“Jane Yolen’s gift is to inspire children with stories that are intimately connected with the foods they eat. Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook…is a perfect example. It marries carefully chosen stories with commentary (for parents) and recipes to share together…Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts is a lovely book for the Jewish holidays – or any time of year. It will encourage children to read, to cook, and to enjoy their meals.”—Super Chef

“‘A fun book for family sharing’ is the description on the back cover…and, looking through the book, it really is! The book, which features Jewish folktales paired with a corresponding recipe and beautiful illustrations, is intended for children ages 5-11, but it crosses generations in a way that is unusual—both the stories and the recipes will appeal to adults and kids equally.”—Jewish Book Council

“Readers of all ages will learn about Jewish folktales, culture and cooking from retellings of Jewish tales from around the world paired with recipes for everything from challah to matzo brei to pomegranate couscous to rugelah. Throughout, the authors share fun facts and anecdotes about the creation of the stories and the history of the dishes, designed to encourage future cooks and storytellers to make up their own versions.”—Times Leader

"Renowned storyteller Jane Yolen and daughter Heidi E.Y. Stemple are making magic again. They've written another cookbook for kids, and it's delightful. The authors have designed the book to appeal to all ages for, as they note, recipes and folk tales have always been adaptable. Recipes get tweaked by cooks to suit their taste buds, skills and budgets. So do stories, whether the listener is a toddler or teenager."—Chicago Tribune

"With plentiful illustrations by Sima Elizabeth Shefrin, the book is colorful and appealing. Yolen retells folk tales - stories that beg to be read aloud - using food as a bridge between the everyday world and the holier and more fanciful one of the legends. The recipes are written in a style that would encourage children and adults to cook together."—


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