Seymour, the Formerly Fearful

  • Interest Level: Grade 3 - Grade 6
  • Reading Level: Grade 4

Seymour Goldfarb has a big problem. He’s afraid of everything! He dreads roller coasters and the beach. He refuses to go to Camp Sportahama. He won’t even learn to ride a bike.

Quick thinking helps Seymour hide his fears from the world. But things change the summer his cousin Pessach comes to visit from Israel. Big, confident Pessach is strong and fearless. His idea of a good time is parachuting out of a plane, which he did as an Israeli paratrooper. And he demands that Seymour show him how Americans have fun! How will Seymour ever survive the summer?

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Interest Level Grade 3 - Grade 6
Reading Level Grade 4
Copyright 2019
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Kar-Ben Publishing ®
Language English
Number of Pages 184
Publication Date 2019-04-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV033020, JUV039090
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.25 x 7.5
Lexile 730
Features Author/Illustrator biography and Reviewed

Author: Eve B. Feldman

Eve Feldman grew up on Long Island, and attended Sarah Lawrence College and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has taught elementary school, remedial reading and English as a foreign language in the United States and abroad. When not busy writing, reading and laughing, Eve enjoys visiting schools and sharing her contagious enthusiasm for reading and writing.

Illustrator: Parwinder Singh

Parwinder Singh was born and raised in Jamshedpur, India. Drawing has been Parwinder’s hobby and passion since childhood. He spent the early years of his career in classical 2D animation and now loves to work digitally.


Kirkus Reviews

“In many novels the main character overcomes great obstacles to achieve what he or she wants in the world. But Seymour doesn’t want to do anything. Seymour avoids the subway, swimming, going outside, and—most of all—learning to ride a bike. He’s afraid of so many things that the book becomes a sort of anti-story in which the main obstacle is Seymour. His Israeli cousin Pesach, by contrast, is outgoing and gregarious, and on his visit to Seymour’s family he instantly wants to see Grand Central Station and to help people he’s just met repair their bicycle. Readers might expect Seymour to rise to the challenge and maybe even talk to his neighbor ‘the beautiful, perfect Lari,’ and occasionally he does, but he’s a master at finding a beautiful, perfect excuse not to, like the appearance of the ‘biggest, hairiest’ dog he’s ever seen, which triggers a sneezing fit. This might be entertaining if the excuses were funny, but Seymour’s best joke is a fantasy that Lari has parents named Shari and Harry. (She does have a sister named Bari.) Both are extremely blonde and blue-eyed. The races of the characters aren’t always identified, but many, like Seymour and his family, are Jewish, and the text does frequently note the diversity of New York crowds. When Seymour finally overcomes his fear, in the closing chapters, it’s very satisfying, but it’s an awfully long wait. Singh’s spot art decorates the text. Seymour’s tale is mainly for people who are really sick of more conventional hero’s-journey narratives.”