cover image Strudel, Strudel, Strudel

Strudel, Strudel, Strudel

Steve Sanfield. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-531-06879-3

Inspired by Jewish folklore, Sanfield's (The Feather Merchants) delightfully silly caper takes place in Chelm, whose inhabitants-""fools and simpletons""-believe they are the wisest people in the world. Posted in front of the House of Study is a strange sign: ""A Teacher May Not Live on Top of a Hill/ A Teacher May Not Own a Trunk with Wheels/ A Teacher May Not Eat Apple Strudel."" The laws date back to an incident involving a schoolteacher who shares with his wife an insatiable love for apple strudel. Each pledges to place a coin every week in their trunk (on wheels), so that by spring they can afford to make lots of strudel. Alas, husband and wife each renege, confident the other is virtuously feeding the trunk with coins. The inevitable squabble ends with the two locked in the trunk, which rolls out of their house and smack into the town marketplace. The Council of Seven Sages resolves the couple's quandary, but erects the aforesaid sign to prevent a recurrence. Contributing to both the old-world charm and the humor of Sanfield's jaunty story are debut illustrator Lisker's whimsical, primitive oil paintings. Flattened perspectives and skewed lines hint at Chagall, but the comic sensibility is all her own. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)