Nissim and a little monkey named Wonders are the heroes of this amusing and exciting story by Lea Goldberg that has become an Israeli children’s classic. It takes place in old Tel Aviv and is narrated by “Nobody’s Auntie.” Neighborhood kids call her this because they love her and she has no family of her own. One day, in her yard, she meets Nissim, a 10-year-old boy whose father has died. He is running away from Yihya, a bully who has been picking on him in the hardscrabble neighborhood where he lives with his younger brother. Their mother is sick in the hospital, and Nissim sells shoelaces for a living. He won’t take charity from anyone, but he agrees to move in with the friendly auntie, who finds work for him in a florist’s shop. He makes friends with the neighborhood kids, and a mischievous lost monkey that joins the gang is also adopted by Nobody’s Auntie, who calls him Wonders. Nissim, Wonders and the other children are planning a circus show, but then Wonders is kidnapped by Yihya the bully. After many adventures, Wonders is returned to the gang through Nissim’s resourcefulness, the show goes on and it is a big hit. Everyone comes to see it, including the monkey’s actual owner, who is a music professor. Wonders goes back to him, but all ends well: Nissim, his mother—who has recovered—and his little brother move into the professor’s cozy home. Mom works as the housekeeper, and Nissim learns to play the piano.
Illustrations: Michel Kishka