Reuven Miran chooses two unique ways to discuss people’s fantasies and aspirations, and how they set out to realize their dreams and feel better about themselves. In the title story, “The Last Dwarfs of Givatayim,” Ido is a somewhat lonely, introspective boy who lives in the small Israeli town of Givatayim. From time to time Ido is teased about his diminutive size which upsets him, until he meets up with the Last Dwarf of Givatayim. After befriending Bezalel Brosh and his family of merry dwarfs, Ido makes a marvellous discovery: dwarfs, so it seems, are very diligent, swift and kind. They spend most of their time doing good deeds without even being noticed. And their smallness, Ido discovers, only enhances their agility and ability to help others. Ido has learned a valuable lesson; physical size doesn’t really matter – it’s your actions that count.
In the story “Mr. Hatzav, His Wife and the Turtle,” Mr. and Mrs. Hatzav are forced to face the fact that progress and civilization have destroyed their neighborhood. In the past, their little house in Ramat Aviv Gimmel was surrounded by greenery and had a view of the sea. Although Mr. Hatzav tries to be philosophical and repeatedly states that people have to live somewhere, it is clear that the noise and pollution have taken their toll. Their diligent efforts to scrub and paint their little house are wasted. And then one day, a thirsty turtle turns up in their yard, where flowers can no longer grow. He is as lonely as they are, although they are surrounded by swarms of nameless people. The turtle explains that he also used to live in the crowded, polluted neighborhood, until he decided to live out in the open air, near the sea. Mr. and Mrs. Hatzav come to realize that although they cherish the little house in which they had both been born, they were slowly being choked by the civilization around them. Bravely, they decide to abandon it and embark on a new life on the sand dunes near the sea, together with their friend the turtle.
Illustrations: Hilla Havkin.