Generations of Israeli children have grown up with the rhymes in this popular, much loved book. Many of the poems have been made into songs and a successful children’s play is based on them. Adults too know them by heart, and some lines have become well-known expressions.
Containing both poems and stories, The Sixteenth Lamb uses direct, simple language and is written mostly from the child’s point of view, depicting his or her perspective and feelings. The book is full of wonderful humor; the children are innocent, but they are also shrewd and subtle. Mainly, they think in an original way, and it is easy for the reader to identify with them. In the poem “I Like,” the child makes a list of his favorite things, from chocolate, cheese cake, ice cream and strawberries, to his parents, relatives and his pre-school teacher, right up to the punch line: “But most of all I like me!” But the children are not selfish, as we see in another poem with a little boy who is empathic and sensitive: from everything he sees on a trip to the city, what he remembers best is “a poor man with holes in his socks.”
Illustrations: David Polonsky
Spanish translation available (for publishers only)