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The House Where the Cockroaches Live to a Ripe Old Age

Leading writer Yoram Kaniuk received the prestigious Ze`ev Prize for this story. Brimming with life, humor runs rampant in this madcap tale, populated with fleabag cats of mistaken gender called Ivanov the First, Second and Third, donkeys, dogs, a horse called Andromeda, a porcupine and the cockroaches, who think they have reached paradise when they move into Naomi`s house. No one would dream of killing a cockroach in Naomi`s house, except possibly her father, a reluctant host who packs his bags and leaves for a day every time his impossible family bring home a new member to the menagerie.

It all began when Naomi was born. When she was one week old, the original Ivanov would sit in her crib, purring. In her mind she played with lions, herded elephants and charmed snakes. At three, she had to have her first donkey, Tempo. Then Abraham the dog arrived and Father began to complain about his terrible misfortune. “I can`t live in this zoo any more,” he said, but no one took his complaints seriously. Abraham barked, big Ivanov purred, the little Ivanovs danced around the milk bowl and Tempo brayed his soft, melodious bray. In the summer, Naomi`s mother could not bring herself to kill the mosquitoes and Father left for the first time. By the time he returned, Naomi had acquired an aquarium. Then the cockroaches came and Father went away for the second time. Naomi`s sister Melissandra adds Arthur and Alexander, a pair of dogs, Andromeda the horse and a turtle, and Father, who has returned, moans loudly while his hair turns completely grey. When a one-winged pigeon arrives to live in the laundry room he looks at the mewing kittens with a doomsday face and says “What am I doing here?” The answer is not long in coming. A television crew comes to film the unique household and Father speaks lovingly and at length about each of the species living under his roof. People love the program and praise Father`s talent for the peculiar and picturesque. He is offered a weekly television show and the grumbling misanthrope becomes a pipe-smoking media personality.

Chinese, English, German, Italian
Title The House Where the Cockroaches Live to a Ripe Old Age
Writer's Last Name Kaniuk
Writer's First Name Yoram
Genre Children
Illustrations Ruth Gwily
Publisher (Hebrew) Yedioth Ahronoth
No. Pages 29pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Bayit She-Bo Metim Ha-Jukim Be-Seiva Tova
  • “ A delightful book... At first sight, you will be repelled. But by the end of the book, you will see the cockroaches as beautiful as lady bugs or dragonflies or fireflies.”

    Corriere della Sera
  • “ Yoram Kaniuk writes magically wonderful tales for young readers. He is a great writer...he has given us a gift of wonderful pages, exhilarating for the little ones he really loves... Cockroaches is a wonderful book for children. ”