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A Flat to Let

Lea Goldberg
AGE: 5-8

The timeless appeal of this fable in verse has made it a classic and a perennial favorite in Israeli children's literature. Based on an East European folk tale, A Flat to Let has a simple but profound message: it is wise to be tolerant of one's neighbors. "At the edge of a valley so quiet and pretty, / Stands a five-storey building far away from the city," it begins, and describes the animal tenants on each floor: a fat hen, a cuckoo, a pampered black cat, a voracious squirrel. The fifth floor used to be occupied by Mr. Mouse, but he disappears, so the neighbors hang up a sign: "A Flat to Let." The flat is shown to many animals. Each follows the same cycle of sing-song questions and exclamations. But each visitor objects to one of the other animals, and rejects the flat. The worst is the racist pig, who considers himself too pure and white to share a roof with the black cat. The neighbors let him have it: "You don't want us, Pig, and we don't want you! Now get out of here without further delay!" Finally a dove comes who likes the neighbors as much as the house. When she moves in, "the flat's just fine. She hums and she coos nearly all of the time." The tenants have finally found another animal as tolerant as themselves.
 
Illustrations: Shmuel Katz


A Flat to Let
Title A Flat to Let
Author’s Last Name Goldberg
Author's First Name Lea
Language(s) Hebrew, English, German, Gujarati (India), Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tamil (India), Telugu (India)
Genre children-picture bk
Publisher (Hebrew) Sifriat Poalim
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1959; new ed. 1970
No. Pages 14 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Dira Le-Haskir: Shlosha Sipurim
Representation Represented by ITHL

Translations

English: Los Angeles, Ward & Ritchie, 1972; New Delhi, National Book Trust, 2000; as comic-strip story: New York, Toon Books, forthcoming
Korean: Seoul, Joongang M&B, 1999
Gujarati: New Delhi, National Book Trust, 2003
Telugu: New Delhi, National Book Trust, 2005
Tamil: New Delhi, National Book Trust, 2005; 12 Indian languages: forthcoming
German: Berlin, Ariella Verlag, 2011
Russian: Moscow, Text, 2012 
Portuguese: Rio de Janeiro, Leya, 2013
Spanish: Mexico, Leetra, 2017 
Uzbek: Moscow/Tashkent, Text, forthcoming

Chinese: Hong Kong, TBP Media, forthcoming

My Friends from Arnon Street
Catalan: Barcelona, Abadia de Montserrat, 1979

Little Queen of Sheba
English: New York, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1959

Where is Pluto?
Arabic: Tel Aviv, Sifriat Poalim, 1999; Nazareth, Merkaz adab al-Atfal al-Arabi fi Israel, 2010 

A Little Shack & What Do the Does Do?
French: Paris, Ed. Chandeigne, 2005

 
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