Zemach: It Could Always Be Worse (1990)

It’s so much fun to read a book to kids that moves their imagination. Margot Zemach‘s It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk Tale was ideal in this regard. It starts off with a  problem: there are too many people living in small house, the lack of personal space causes friction between the family members. The kids I read the story to came up with all sorts of ideas of how to solve the issue. Then the story moved onto the advices the man of the house got from the rabbi: bring in the animals one by one into the house.

Any (good) story that has more than one kind of animal in it can be a hit with kids. They sure made all the animals sounds as the story moved on. Some of them even figured out the ending: when you take out the animals the limited space will feel spacious and the atmosphere will be relaxed again. The kids in my audience stayed excited though and the book encouraged them to take it a record number of books from the library where we had our story time.

A disadvantage of readings a book to a group of kids, that not all of them could see the illustrations. In this case the colored in sketches were mostly lost on them. However they enjoyed the humor and by making them talk and think about the ending I made sure that the wisdom of the story wasn’t lost on them either. It was a good experience for all. It could have been much worse.

The book at Amazon.com

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