At kindergarten, the twins Lil and Nim learn about the occupations of their friends' parents. Michali's dad is a baker while Yoav's mother works in a bank. Limor's father is assistant to the Prime Minister – actually quite a boring job, she confides, all he ever does is make promises all day long.
Lil and Nim's father is a theater manager. But what does he actually do? What is a theater and who is the thief who stole the show? Yoav - whose mom, you recall, works in a bank - asks; what do you need the theater for? Lil and Nim decide that they must discover the answers to all these questions and convince their dad that it's time they toured the theater.
In this delightful book, writer Nava Semel takes her young readers on a fascinating tour of the theater, from the dressing rooms to the costume room, from makeup and backdrops to the canteen and the stage. Strange names like "King Lear" and "Shakespeare" float around the place and it is clear that the "audience" (whatever that means) is very important. Lil and Nim meet a king and a princess, not to mention a frightening witch with a loose nose. They come to realize that the theater is a unique and independent world, quite unlike the world outside. They are hypnotized by the blending of fantasy and reality and are sad when they have to go home. Theater, they are told, is dreaming with your eyes open..
When Lil and Nim return to the kindergarten, they can proudly explain what their father does. Nim says, "Theater is the work of a lot of people. Our father is the manager. He solves the problems that come up all the time....By day and night, our father searches for more Shakespeares to write plays. It's all because the show must go on." Because without the theater, the world would be a drab and charmless place.
Illustrations: Avner Katz
English translation available (for publishers only)