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Saturday, June 13, 2015
by Uri Shulevitz
Awards: Caldecott Honor
A wonderful, enchanting folktale that actually reminds me of a much simpler version of The Alchemist.
Isaac is a poor man who lives quietly in a small village. He often has no food, but does not complain and lives a simple, yet good life.
One night he had a dream that a voice told him to go to the Royal Palace in the capital city, look under the bridge and he would find a treasure. Because the dream was so unlikely, Isaac ignored it.
He then dreamt the same dream again. And again, he ignored it. What a preposterous dream!
Yet when he dreamt the identical dream the third time, he thought he should pay attention to it and follow its advice.
So he set out for the long journey on foot to the capital city. The author simplifies the story at this point by putting one sentence on each page, but the enchanting illustrations highlight the text on the page adding unwritten details to the story.
Finally, Isaac arrives in the capital city and he makes his way to the Royal Palace and the bridge, He is eager to look for the treasure after his long journey, but a new problem arises. The bridge is guarded at all times by the Royal Guards. It would be awkward for him to look for a treasure.
Still he stays there for many days. Finally the captain of the guards asks Isaac what he is doing there everyday. Isaac humbly explains his dream. The captain laughed and gave this explanation for his laughter:
(My favorite line:)
“You poor fellow,” he said, “what a pity you wore your shoes out for a dream! Listen, if I believed a dream I once had, I would go right now to the city you came from, and I’d look for a treasure under the stove in the house of a fellow named Isaac.”
Isaac simply bowed and started the long journey home. On arrival back at his small hut, he immediately began to dig under his stove and indeed, in no time, he uncovered an incredible treasure!
He built a prayer room in thanksgiving, sent the guard captain a large ruby, lived the rest of his life in contentment and he was never hungry again.
Suggested Uses as a Mentor Text:
Book Genre: Folktale/Fairytale
Reading Workshop strategies: Predicting, Visualizing, Inferring, Summarizing
Writing Workshop genre/ strategies: Folktale, Subtle twist, Strong ending
Bio on Uri Shulevitz: http://us.macmillan.com/author/urishulevitz#