Reviews for Way Meat Loves Salt : A Cinderella Tale from the Jewish Tradition


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 October 1998
Ages 4^-7. A Yiddish story from eastern Europe combines two folklore traditions: the romantic Cinderella tale and the love-test between parent and child. Like King Lear, the father asks his daughters to tell him how much they love him. When his youngest and most beloved daughter, Mireleh, answers "the way meat loves salt," he drives her out in fury. Then the Cinderella story comes in, with Elijah the Prophet playing the role of fairy godmother. He gives the outcast girl a magic stick that enables her to dress up in satin and pearls, and the rich rabbi's son falls in love with her. At her wedding feast, she asks that the food be cooked without salt, and when her father complains that the food is tasteless, she reveals who she is, and he asks her forgiveness. The linocut prints painted in oil have the simplicity and exuberance of folk art. Children will enjoy the triumph of the outcast as well as the loving connections between the generations and between the stories. ((Reviewed October 1, 1998)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 1999
Mireleh, the youngest of three daughters, is dismissed by her father when she declares she loves him ""the way meat loves salt."" The homey quality suggested in the title is rendered in the energetic peasant-like feel of the linocuts. Both the writing and art contribute to the abundant good spirit, captured in a final [cf2]Mazel Tov![cf1], the musical score for which is provided at the end. Copyright 1999 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1998 #5
In this Yiddish variant of "Cinderella," which incorporates other tale-types as well, Mireleh, the youngest of three daughters, is dismissed by her father la King Lear when she declares she loves him "the way meat loves salt." This analogy sits unfavorably with her rabbi father, who likes his elder daughters' diamonds and gold better. Mireleh meets a kindly old man-Elijah, in fact-who gives her a magic stick. Tapping on the stick, she receives her first wish, and is transformed into a lovely maiden so that she may attend a wedding feast in Krakow. When the eligible young rabbi's son falls in love with Mireleh herself and they marry, she warns the cooks to put no salt in any of the food prepared for the feast. Her attending father exclaims that the food tastes terrible and, recognizing his daughter, understands her love for him. Illustrator Louise August renders the homey quality suggested in the title in the energetic peasant-like feel of her linocuts, whose bold black outlines furnish vitality. Vibrant oils of reds, yellows, and blues set off the inky black, which defines the trees and rocks, and the sashes on the women's provincial gowns. Both the writing and the art contribute to the abundant good spirit, captured in a final Mazel Tov!, the musical score for which is provided at the end. s.p.b. Copyright 1999 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1998 August #1
Despite the subtitle, this is not strictly a Cinderella tale so much as a patchwork of two or three fairy tales, including Cinderella, brought to a Polish-Jewish setting. It begins as a variant on the tale in which a father asks each of his three daughters to declare how much she loves him; the older two answer in obvious ways ("as much as diamonds"; "as much as gold and silver"), but the third says, "I love you the way meat loves salt." The father here, a rabbi, misunderstands and exiles the youngest daughter, who, in this case, receives a magic stick from a stranger (he turns out to be the prophet Elijah). She takes refuge in the house of a faraway rabbi with a handsome son. Add in a wedding (in place of a ball) and the story becomes Cinderella-ish, with the girl using the magic stick to conjure up a pretty dress, shoes and transportation. A missing slipper soon leads to the girl's own wedding with aforesaid handsome son. The wedding supper is prepared without salt, prompting sudden understanding from the bride's father. August endows the story with gorgeously colored linocuts as intimate and attractively homespun as for In the Month of Kislev (written by Jaffe); like Jaffe, she can convey a warm ethnic tradition with her own sophisticated touches and discreet flair. But even with Jaffe's supple, classically cadenced prose, the seams show the story is best for readers who want the Jewish backdrop. Ages 4-7. (Sept.) Copyright 1998 Publishers Weekly Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1998 September
K-Gr 4-Young readers will recognize Cinderella while adults will see the story of King Lear in this Yiddish tale. When a rabbi asks his three daughters how much they love him, the first two name diamonds and gold and silver and he is content. However, when Mireleh tells her father that she loves him "the way meat loves salt," he is horrified and banishes her from his home. Much like the protagonist in Charlotte Huck's Princess Furball (Greenwillow, 1989), she makes her own way in the world, with the help of Elijah the Prophet, marrying a rabbi's son and inviting her family to the wedding banquet where the food is made tasteless from lack of salt. At last, the rabbi realizes how much his daughter loves him and the families are reunited to live happily ever after. This retelling is enriched by a clear introduction that shows the place of the story in literary tradition; by flowing language that will make it a fine read-aloud; and by linocut illustrations done in oil on rice paper, showing simple faces, embroidered clothing, and rustic homes. The words and music to the traditional Eastern European wedding song, "Mazel Tov," are appended. A fine addition to folktale collections, especially those where Cinderella variants or Eastern-European and Jewish tales are in demand.-Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

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