Yossi and the Monkeys
A Shavuot Story
Yossi has no money to buy the food and flowers his family needs for Shavuot. He tries selling the kippahs his wife sewed, but he has no luck—until a mischievous monkey shows up. The monkey’s antics attract customers and win Yossi’s heart . . . but did Yossi’s new friend come to stay?
|Interest Level||Preschool - Grade 3|
|Reading Level||Grade 1|
|Genre||Fiction, Picture Books|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Kar-Ben Publishing ®, Lerner Digital ™|
|Number of Pages||32|
- Middle East Division
Jewish Book Council
“Only peripherally about Shavuot, this story is reminiscent of the classic Caps for Sale, in that it involves caps (kippahs) and monkeys. Yossi has no money for challah or blintzes to celebrate Shavuot, so his wife Malka makes three kippahs for Yossi to sell in the market. When no one wants to buy them, he sits down to rest beneath a tree, and when he wakes, the kippahs are gone, stolen by a monkey swinging through the branches above him. Sound familiar? The adorable monkey, whom Yossi names Zelig (blessing) attracts customers so that Yossi leaves the market with some rubles in his pocket, enough to buy vegetables for soup, an apple for Zelig, and fabric for Malka to make more kippahs. Man and monkey continue to sell kippahs until one day it rains, and Zelig disappears.
Though cheerfully illustrated, this derivative story is more about friendship than Shavuot, and adding a blintz doesn’t make it more so. An additional holiday choice for readers, but cute enough otherwise.”—Jewish Book Council
“Hoping to earn some extra money to buy challah, blintzes, and flowers for Shavuot, a man named Yossi sets out with three kippahs, sewn by his wife, which are promptly stolen by a monkey as Yossi naps under a tree. Just when things are starting to resemble a Jewish riff on Esphyr Slobodkina’s classic Caps for Sale, MacLeod turns the monkey into a help, rather than a menace: his playful presence (and juggling talent) make him a perfect sales sidekick, and soon Yossi’s business is booming. The story takes some odd turns from there—it turns out that the monkey, dubbed Zelig, belongs to a traveling circus, requiring some negotiation between Yossi and the circus manager, as well as kippahs for eight other performing monkeys—but Waisman sustains a kooky atmosphere in her brightly colored images of round-headed, red-nosed monkeys and big-eyed villagers.”—Publishers Weekly
Author: Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod
Jennifer Tzivia MacLeod lives in northern Israel with her family. Her previous book, Yossi and the Monkeys, has become a Shavuot favorite.
Illustrator: Shirley Waisman
Shirley Waisman studied visual communication at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. She illustrates children's books, magazines, textiles, and advertisements, experimenting with different kinds of techniques, styles, and materials. She lives in Israel.